Django Django | Marble Skies

6/10 Blurred lines.

Bands traditionally bristle at the idea of being “put in a pigeonhole”, the very prospect of not only denting their self-image as deathless originals but also threatening to trap them in a creative prison. Since the release of their self-titled debut in 2012, Django Django have tried hard to swerve easy categorization, their music a free-spirited swiping at different genres: Krautrock, psychedelia, synth-pop.
Their third album keeps up this brisk, choppy approach: “Tic Tac Toe” is a plaid-shirted dub hoedown, “Champagne” sounds like a garage strut through Season of the Witch, and the wistful Ace of Bass shuffle of “Surface to Air” even shakes up the very format of the band, featuring Slow Club’s Rebecca Taylor on vocals. In a real coup for connoisseurs of eclecticism, “Sundials” is built around a piano line by Czech-born composer Jan Hammer, the man behind the Miami Vice theme.
Ye neatly executed as it all is, Marble Skies can start to sound like a stylistic sleight-of-hand, the hiccupping, yelping shifts and pitches a distraction that masks the lack of emotional core. It’s only past the halfway point, when they loosen up with the Numanoid electro-pop of “Beam Me Up” that the album begins to feel more than an exercise in just being a very smart band. Having proved they can blur the boundaries, now they need work on definition.
Dan Ashcroft
Like this? Try these:

Jagwar Ma
| Every Now and Then
Aussie upstarts revisit the Madchester scene.

Alt-J | Relaxer
Difficult third album from arty Oxford trio.


Jack White | Boarding House Reach
Eclectic effort courtesy of erstwhile White Stripe.

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