A first perusal through Django Django‘s sophomore album, Born Under Saturn, feels like being thrown into a safari on an alien planet. The experience is deliciously hypnotic. And while some sights in the album are more interesting than others, the entire tour is rather eye-opening, and it’s hard to leave the album feeling anything but wide-eyed and giddy.
The rock angels dance around in “Shake and Tremble,” a sort of John Wayne meets Jefferson Airplane meets Austin Powers. It’s difficult not to get a little tingly in the happy waves Django Django throws over you. The confident stabs of piano chords, synths moving in whatever ways they please, sleigh bells and slurpy noises and badass tornado sounds–it all fantastic.
“Giddy art-rock” they’ve been described, and this album solidifies that descriptor.
The music is so blissfully peculiar that it’s easy to lose track of the beautifully simplistic lyrics, like the deflated love letter in “Found You,” or the palpable lyrics in “First Light,” a catchy carpe diem song for 2015, and the first single off the album.
You know those snake charmers that National Geographic loves documenting? The music here acts a charmer for robots, turning the piles of metal into sentient animals. (Interesting enough, this is exactly what happens in their video the second single, “Reflections”).
The catchy drifts of “Pause Repeat” may make it a summer anthem, though it’s probably too long for that. The same could be sad of “Shot Down,” which has some beautiful moments, especially the ending, but would have benefited from more concision. Even the opener, “Giant,” goes on a little long, and could have used some editing work, but eh, it’s not killing people.
“Born Before Saturn” has been criticized that the flaring talent and ambition overwhelms the lyrics. Which may be the case, but when the music is this blithely joyous, who cares?
In general, critics aren’t as excited for this album as their debut. This critic is not a part of that camp. In the end, this is a smart record that will expand your senses and make you smile. And Leo Tolstoy said that’s the purpose of art–so there.