On their third studio album, ‘Marble Skies’, Scottish Indie-rockers Django Django have upped their tempo, really embracing the danceability of their music. The first track “Marble Skies” comes out of the speakers like a shot. Synthesizers working overtime, the band’s patented harmonies are sped up, riding over the beat. The song wears its 80’s influences on its sleeve, even tossing in a vocoder in an approach that stirs the feet and plants a smile firmly on your face.
“Surface to Air” shows the band is not done experimenting. Lead vocals are performed by guest singer Rebecca Taylor from Slow Club. It’s Carribean beats and synthesized steel drum will have the listener checking to see if their digital player accidentally got put on shuffle. It sounds like a Shakira track and is pretty jarring on first listen. But it is pure pop.
“Champagne” has the band diving deeply into their psychedelic influences, with whirling rock organ, the song has an almost Zombies-like sound. Vincent Neff’s falsetto dances in and out of the melody, dream-like. Despite being one of the slower songs on the album, it is remarkably upbeat.
“Tic Tac Toe” has a vicious beat and gives the impression of speeding up throughout. It is like a 60’s pop song sped up by 50 percent and layered with hard snares to emphasize the tempo. Brief reverb passages act as breaks in the nonstop assault, but its catchiness is unassailable.
On “Sundials” the band collaborated with Jan Hammer (yes, the guy who wrote the Miami Vice theme) and created a dreamy piece of pop perfection. A heavily syncopated military beat and jazz clarinet weave their way through the hazy vocals.
“Beam Me Up” strays into Depeche Mode synth-pop, building until it explodes into a dancehall breakbeat. The song fades directly into “In Your Beat” which is the Django Django sound tuned to pop ecstasy. If you had to introduce someone to the band, this song would explain them perfectly. Their patented harmonies over a slight psych beat, strong percussion, spaced out bleeps and bloops building until your feet have to move.
Marble Skies finds the band tuning the sound that has defined them, and evolving it into a more pop/dance direction. Their songwriting has become more concise, and their beats a little more catchy. The band may have returned to their roots to record, but this album is definitely a step forward in the definition of their sound.
Django Django is playing Coachella on April 13th & 21st. They are currently touring the UK, so get your tickets here.
Order your copy of Marble Skies on vinyl or digital here.
Watch the video for “Tic Tac Toe” here.
Watch the trippy animated video for “In your Beat” below: