Django Django captures the essence and excitement of live music in their new album, Glowing In The Dark. It’s a living breathing project that marries texture and accomplished songwriting. The album bubbles, spits and pops at one juncture and then turns in a different direction to offer mellow melodies and minimalistic instrumentation before exploring the weird and wonderful.
Django Django brilliantly executes the traditional marriage of drums and bass whilst ensuring it remains innovative and unique. Jimmy Dixon’s bass melodies and delivery are sublime, played in a similar style to that heard on “Champagne” from Marble Skies. The music itself is a partnership of past and present, drawing on elements of the ’60s and 70’s rock and combining them with Tommy Grace’s futuristic synths. On, “Got Me Worried,” David McLean’s drum pattern creates the track’s infectious feel. Vincent Neff’s guitar licks are quirky and enticing, complementing his talent as a wordsmith. “My ego’s sinking and shrinking and down on the floor/It’s getting twisted your distant let’s build a rapport.” He compromises neither musicality nor meaning in his lyrics.
The opening track, “Spirals,” sets the tone for the album as it gallops along amongst the whirling dervish of music influenced by MGMT. The “Little Dark Age” inspired melody rolls off of bouncing bass licks and pillowy drums. Crystalline sliding synths inject the track with magic as a buffer to the muscular bass and repeated arpeggios. The lead single and title track “Glowing In The Dark” is a goosebump rendering underground raver. The galactic synth buzzes around Neff’s mesmerizing vocals punctuated by John Lennon style tremors. The lyrics are some of the most aesthetic as Neff demonstrates some lyrical acrobats. “It starts to emanate the space between illuminates.”
“Free From Gravity,” the second single, is a brooding beast that explores alienation. The vocals are infused with Beach Boys perfectionism before it changes course for the Bluesy Beck style chorus. The exploration of the theme is what makes this song stand out with inspired lines such as, “See the world getting madder/As we’re lifting off the ground/So we’re pulling up the ladder/’Cause we’re never coming down.”
Charlotte Gainsbourg makes an appearance on the bittersweet, “Waking Up.” She delivers velvety vocals quite different to her cuts on songs like “Trick Pony.” It’s a song about moving out and moving on layered with a Kinks style, “You Really Got Me,” guitar riff. “Waking up to the fact that we’re never going back/Our home is the open road,” is a sad sentiment, however, Gainsbourg turns into a positive when she breathes, “flowers take hold.”
The album is packed full of musical intricacies as heard on “Headrush” where a Beatlesque riff meets a manic drumbeat. On “The Ark” the bass glimmers through the track menacingly in an explosive instrumental number. For all of the dense arrangements, Django Django shows their ability to strip it back on, “The World Will Turn.” It’s a beautifully simplistic love song with some breezy acoustic guitar and enduring lyrics. “Close your eyes and rest your head on mine/Our heartbeats chime.”
In this album, Django Django wear their influences on their sleeve but remain unique, the style is rooted in the past but what they do with it makes it modern and progressive. They accomplish the rare feat of making pre-recorded music sound not only live but alive, approaching dark themes with optimism. The harmonies, hidden sound effects in the music and the honesty the entire album is delivered would make for great festival music. They successful evolve their own sound and that of art-rock.