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Django Django – Born Under Saturn

2015DjangoDjango_BornUnderSaturn_270415.galleryI’m afraid that Django Django’s self-titled debut (2012) might be one of those albums that were hailed in the year of their release, but viewed in a larger time frame will be forgotten/ignored. The band’s follow-up album will undergo no such fate since the album is not even hailed now. Born Under Saturn is probably a slightly better album than the band’s debut, but the novelty of Django Django’s interstellar surf-sound has worn off and the Scots have decided this time to focus on their songwriting instead of new or improved musical gimmicks. An admirable move by which they knowingly and willingy have stepped into the trap of the difficult second album.

Although it was not really a concept album, Django Django’s debut album to me felt quite consistent in its mission of gallant eccentricity. Of Born Under Saturn the band said: ‘We treat each song like its own little universe.’ And indeed the album feels more like a ‘mix tape’ than a rounded narrative. Since most little universes on Born Under Saturn are worth igniting your hyper-drive for, the fact that their interconnection is loose at most, is only a temporary obstacle. It takes a bit longer to get into Born Under Saturn, but once you do the rewards are all the greater. The album does not contain a radio friendly single like Default, on the other hand it does not contain total dead-weight like Zumm Zumm either. Many songs on Born Under Saturn feel like the majestic reprise of songs on the debut album. Opener Giant, for instance, takes the reverent rhythm of Waveforms to a new level of inciting, Shake And Tremble picks up the space chopper where WOR left it parked, while songs like Find You and Vibrations add new exciting chapters to the gospel of Haile Bop. In short: when Django Django elaborate on themes introduced on their debut the result is almost always an improvement, the exception being the lengthy 4000 Years.

The trap of the difficult second album is of course that nobody is satisfied with doing an improved version of their success album and it’s precisely when Django Django are treading relatively new ground that not all the pieces immediately fall together. Some examples: the early house piano on Pause/Repeat stopped being tolerable shortly after the Happy Mondays and the songs chorus tries so hard to lift the listeners mood that it has the opposite effect. The darkwave intro and outro of Shot Down reminds me from Depeche Mode’s Barrel Of A Gun. Nothing wrong with that except that there is not enough of a song in between to justify the loan. Also when Django Django are beginning to sound like a native folk-rock band from planet earth like on Breaking The Glass they a lose some of their shine. All in all, the peaks far outnumber the lows on Born Under Saturn. The pleasantly pendulous Beginning To Fade is a new direction that does work instantly. It’s lovely chorus will remind old people of the Beach Boys middle aged people of XTC and young people of Grizzly Bear. The new romantic brass section on Reflections (very Duran Duran) is another highlight on this, already grossly undervalued, album. I take comfort in the thought that Django Django are the biggest band of all time in at least 13 universes that our limited technology prevents us from observing.

Field Music – Music For Drifters

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Field Music are in the process of recording their fifth long player to be released sometime in 2016. In the meantime they've released an instrumental album titled Music For Drifters which is by no means a casse-croûte. The Brewis brothers were … [Continue reading]

Dutch Uncles – O Shudder

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The seventh half year recap album involves a band whose relative success keeps surprising me. I can't think of a fan profile other than my own, suited to appreciate Dutch Uncles: growing up with Japan, admiring XTC,  delighting in falsettos, … [Continue reading]

Tame Impala – Currents

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Staying Alive has never been more alive. All We Are, the first band whose album we reviewed for this half year recap, called themselves 'the Bee Gees on diazepam'. The third album by Tame Impala was dreamt up by Kevin Parker while listening to the … [Continue reading]

Sleater-Kinney – No Cities To Love

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Is it possible to call yourself an indie blogger and never have heard of what All Music calls 'the most important punk band of the 1990s an 2000s'? Apparently it is. I'm not too embarrased; Sleater-Kinney is very much a product of the nineties, a … [Continue reading]

Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

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Contrary to the three previous recap posts, today's album is on every one's half-year-list. If you find Lorde too pleasing, Lily Alen too exuberant and Sheryl Crow too last-century then you are bound to fall for Courtney Barnett. That's quite some … [Continue reading]

Bilderbuch – Schick Schock

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There are only two languages in the world that are right for popular music: English and German. For me, as a child of the Neue Deutsche Welle (NDW) that's a clear as daylight. In the late seventies, early eighties acts like Nina Hagen, Nena, Spider … [Continue reading]

The Dodos – Individ

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I'm convinced that part of a band's success depends on how much critics enjoy reviewing their albums. Bands that offer regular style breaches, artistic mistakes, complete sell-outs or a other cries for attention have our sympathy because they supply … [Continue reading]

All We Are – All We Are

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The Fuzz has been inactive for six months due to lack of time and inspiration. Now that we re-found both, we're back with a friendly vengeance. Looking back at twenty of the most interesting releases of 2015 so far, starting off in the heart of … [Continue reading]

Eurosonic tip: Bilderbuch

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Bilderbuch are a wayward quartet from the land of Conchita Wurst. They released two albums in 2009 and 2011 with an interesting mix of prog-rock and art-punk. More recent EP's and single's show the Austrians move to more funky and electronic grounds. … [Continue reading]