Before listening to this British psychedelic group, I didn’t know much about them and it took me a couple of listens to fully grasp the positive qualities of this very strong first release. They possess a large sound, often filled with chants, tribal-like drums, and ever-climbing chords.
The album contains a great range of sounds that compliment each other well while still maintaining a strong core sound. At times, it feels like space travel or back to the future, then shifts into what one would think Australia sounds like, then to an electronica sound, and the changes just never really cease to flow through. From the first track, fittingly titled “Introduction,” you already know the kind of climb this will be, with the chants and synths constantly elevating in unison with the strong drum sound, until it explodes into the jointed track “Hail Bop.” The best words I can use to describe the synthesizers that are at play in this track are mystery and discovery as they bounce on and off each other as if they are having fun with the notes. Of course the next track “Firewater” takes a sharp turn and goes into more of a bassy schoolyard tune with tints of western thrown in for fun. Another one of Django Django’s assets is the ability of their voices and melodies to extend and carry measures without the need to have much else going on.
Shift three brings us to a quirkier and more upbeat (if you can possibly believe that) sound on the next two tracks, “Waveforms” and “Zumm Zumm”. The former’s beat strikes an odd resemblance to Major Lazer’s “Pon de Floor” and I am in no way shouting plagiarism; on the contrary, I am complimenting on the choice of their influences. While the latter is goofy all the way from the title right down to the beat, it has a nice change of pace with the vocal break that settles things down before the inevitable climb.
The rest of the album takes a more slowed down western pace with less sonic expansion but simple guitar lines and soft gallop beats, and still it works for them. The last two tracks finish out with a louder bang filled with the more explosive synthy sound from the early tracks in the album, bringing it full circle. A worthy listen, though it won’t change your life, it still is one of the best releases of the year. Though Americans sure love to worship all things British, this one should not be chalked up to the anglophilia that plagues us.
- Hail Bop
- Skies Over Cairo