Django Django’s follow up to their widely acclaimed self-titled 2012 debut album is nothing close to disappointing. If anything, ‘Born Under Saturn’ is more of a reflection of their true self than the first. This does not necessarily mean that it is better – because they differ in many aspects – but it is definitely catchier and more imaginative.
Released on 4 May 2015, it was well received by fans and critics alike and has been generating considerable talking points ever since. The album is structured like a nonconformist’s playlist – in a good way – with genres, beats and styles crisscrossing to treat our ears to a completely new experience. It is a harmonious ensemble of different cultures of music backed by sheer raw energy.
Vincent Neff seems to have been put on a strict diet of brimstone in the past three years because he is on fire. His vocals are stronger than ever and his almost lack of inflection gives the album a sort of relaxed, no urgency feel.
‘First Light’, by far the album’s most applauded song, is eerily captivating with its tingling vocals and a superbly calibrated synth backdrop. ‘Life We Know’ gallops closely on its heels and is a big booster for the album.
The band has made an impressive effort to prevent the adapted tracks from sounding like ripoffs. ‘Giant’ has been slowed down and recreated in a style of their own; quite different from that of Stereolab’s and ‘Shake and Tremble’ has been completely re-purposed to create a totally different identity from ‘Big Boi’s ‘Shutterbuug’. Let us just say that one of their strongest qualities is their knack for originality and diversity.
A certain theme and/or plot is evident as you shuffle through the tracks. There seems to be a desired leitmotif in the LP apparent from the the story lines of a few songs. ‘High Moon’ seems to be about the healing power of the universe and ‘Shot Down’ is about the influences of the universe in our decisions. It may not seem like it to the unobservant eye but ‘Born Under Saturn’ is a very deep and well thought-of LP.
Yes they struggled to pull off a collocation of their heavy British accent with reggae beats in ‘Shot Down’ and ‘Reflections’ but the result was more interesting than boring. Some songs in the album may come out as a little bit weaker but there is not one bad song in the LP. In the least, the worst tracks are fine.
The London-based Scottish quartet seems to have done their homework on this one but they would have achieved more punch if they had cut a good ten minutes from their fifty four minute album. All in all, its a wise buy and a fun listen.