Dalston four piece Django Django invite all manner of silly observations about their name/context/legacy which I’ve raised (use your imagination now) in order to quickly dispel. Let’s get straight to the music, because frankly, it’s hard to describe (in a good way) and I’m going to need all the words I can get. 

There comes along a band every so often that, whether or not they met at an Edinburgh art school, make you start wracking your brain for the proper nomenclature.  Django Django are essentially an electro band with a massive emphasis on cadence and harmony, and the thirteen (unlucky for some, not for them) tracks of their debut album are all sufficiently differentiated that even that seems too specific a summary of their sound.

‘Firewater’ at least is a pseudo-spaghetti western soundtrack, all bluegrass chords and falsetto vocal lines.  It feels sparse, but pulls focus to the subtle harmonies, timbres and the curiously catchy vocals.  Single ‘Waveforms’ is definitely a highlight, wobbly synths (I see what they did there) and deliciously unexpected vocal harmonies, the drawn out pacing, and the bizarre lyrical imagery are all as innovative as you can get these days without inventing a new instrument.  

The album unfortunately doesn’t quite maintain the heights of ‘Waveforms’ throughout but it doesn’t deviate too far off either. It’s hard to say what’s missing that would make this self-titled debut an outright classic, but if anything it’s the constant cheeky, playful tone that is a plus point in itself, but does mean true surprises are few and few between. Repeat listens reveal new subtleties however, and unusually the final two tracks slap you around the cheeks and demand you sit back up and pay attention, with a combination of eastern scales followed by some of the album’s best melodies and irreverent instrumentation. On first listen the album feels underwhelming but exerts a strong drag, familiarity with the tracks enhances them considerably.   

A constantly evolving sonic landscape, a collection of enticing harmonies and tactful pacing means the bottom line is a highly impressive debut that doesn’t toe the line. Also, a January release means a great antidote to the more po-faced, Wintery milieu. Django Django’s sound is assured and rewarding - whatever it is.