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There'll be plenty of people who can count themselves amongst the uninitiated where the Late Night Tales series is concerned; if they were looking for a starting point, this particular compilation would fit the bill perfectly. Django Django really are the archetypal band for this kind of concept; they met at art school, there's an unrelentingly experimental bent to the music they make, and the sheer variety of influences on their self-titled debut suggests that their collective taste in music is likely eclectic; perfect, then, for a project that encourages artists to construct a record that's suitable for the nocturnal amongst us.

Just in case was any question as to the strictness of the parameters set by the folks at Night Time Stories - the label that puts these records out - the final track on this Django Django compilation is a spoken word piece by actor du jour Benedict Cumberbatch. It doesn't matter, apparently, that said story is about as engaging as a book about tax law; the sheer weight of Cumberbatch's profile has apparently afforded him a place on several recent Late Night Tales releases (this particular track is part four of four). That was the first thing that jumped out at me when I saw the album's listing; given that this is a series that places a real emphasis on intelligence of construction, closing with a banal piece of fiction didn't really seem to bode well for the rest of the record.

What Django Django want us to believe is that there's some kind of method in the madness, that there's a genuinely intelligent thought process behind the sheer obscurity of their musical touchpoints. That's perfectly easy to swallow when it comes to their own music, which really does draw upon abstruse influences to good effect, but the press release for this Late Night Tales instalment describes them as sounding like "the rich harmonies of the Mamas & Papas, beamed through a refracting prism, pointing towards Bo Diddley, Chicago house and outer-space." There's then a completely arbitrary reference to the fact that drummer David McLean's brother was in The Beta Band. You suspect that Django Django, to put it bluntly, might be protesting their alternative credentials a little too much.

What follows is a hugely scattershot compilation; the idea of a 'late night' vibe is, of course, totally open to interpretation, but I'm not sure my own idea of it sits comfortably with Django Django's. There's tons of Outkast tracks that would've been more suitable than the constantly busy 'Slum Beautiful'; Canned Heat's 'Poor Moon', meanwhile, slowly builds pace throughout - that in itself should be enough to render it unsuitable for such a laid-back series, but the vocals - left obnoxiously high in the mix - really seal its incongruousness.

There are, of course, some hits to go with the misses; Leo Kottke's instrumental opener to the record, 'The Tennessee Toad', brings some delightfully evocative blues guitar to the table - pure late-sixties Stones - while the sheer nonchalance of the instrumentation on Bob James' 'Nautilus' fits perfectly; it's funny how a cut that's been sampled so many times on hip-hop tracks - most notably, for me at least, on Ghostface Killah's 'Daytona 500', can sound so fresh when presented in its original form. The Beach Boys' 'Surf's Up', which arrives half way through, serves as a real anchor - that sound, all acoustic guitars and effects-laden vocals, provides the basis for the compilation's midsection. The Millennium's gorgeously lackadaisical 'To Claudia on Thursday' is clearly born of the same influence, whilst Primal Scream's 'Carry Me Home' sets gentle guitars against an ominous beat, to borderline-unsettling effect.

The cover of The Monkees' 'Porpoise Song' that ostensibly closes the album, performed by Django Django themselves, is a nice touch; I'm not sure if there's a quota on how many tracks the curating artist is allowed to contribute, but it would've been nice to see a band as stylistically explorative make more of an impact on their own compilation. Instead, we've got a record that, as every other entry in the series does, tells us plenty about the tastes that drive the band compiling it; I'm not convinced, though, that this particular instalment is suitably faithful to the 'late night' concept.

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