Django Django, Night Moves

Rock
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Editorial Review


By Mike Joyce
Friday, March 8, 2013

What happens when you put four like-minded British art school students in an East London flat with instruments and recording gear? Quarrels? Blown fuses? Eviction?

Perhaps, but in the case of new foursome Django Django, the outcome couldn’t have been more positive. The art rock band emerged with an eponymous album that quickly attracted a lot of favorable press overseas, in thrall to its multi-layered, multi-hued charms. And it’s not hard to understand why. Like most groups drawn to vintage psychedelic pop and prog rock, Django Django views music as a total immersion experience, a wash of vibrant colors, harmonies and stylistic allusions.

But there’s nothing overtly retro or tiresomely schematic about the band’s approach. Pet sounds inspired by the likes of Bo Diddley, Brian Wilson, Joe Meek and Ennio Morricone are deftly integrated, often with a mix of affection and wit.

More important, whether pop echoes resound or not, “Django Django” consistently underscores the band’s own budding personality -- its appealing ingenuity, craft and wide-ranging tastes. Among the highlights that swiftly invite repeat hearings are the surf guitar homage “Life’s a Beach,” the trippy “Hail Bop” and the delightfully percussive and oscillating “Wavelength.”

The album’s flaws mostly involve the lyrics. They’re rarely a match for the musical treats or, for that matter, the loopy liner notes, which list inspirations ranging from Sun Ra to “Doogie Howser, M.D.”