Django Django: Born Under Saturn

Saturn is the Roman god of time and plenty. If there’s any correlation between Saturn, the god, and Born Under Saturn, the latest album by neo-psych outfit Django Django, it’s that the British band manages to pack a baker’s dozen of slickly produced, groovecentric songs into just over seventy minutes on this, their sophomore full length. While Django Django’s 2012 self-titled release had them experimenting with variations on their neo-psychedelic style, Born Under Saturn has them focusing and expanding on that album’s highlights and creating a more accessible, consistent sound.

Each song on Born Under Saturn has a similar framework, and the tempos rarely deviate from an upbeat, danceable arrangement. A stripped-down, percussive groove introduces each track, around which hypnotic melodies and charmingly unassertive vocal harmonizing quickly build, creating a world of sound that insists the listener move to its gorgeous patterns. Don’t be fooled by the aforementioned description into believing Django Django will be breaking into the US pop charts any time soon. The music presented here never strays too far into immediate accessibility, and that’s a good thing.

Synthesizers weave in and out of each song, snaking subversively, and providing an edge for even the most jaded indie music fan to grab on to. Looping effects and even a saxophone makes an appearance, albeit subtle, so as not to overwhelm. Singer Vincent Neff’s lyrical themes include natural elements and introspective proclamations. Django Django’s overall neo-psych style is akin to their American brethren who have released similar albums in the genre within the last decade. Fans of such acts as MGMT and Animal Collective, who may not already be familiar with Django Django, will surely find something to love here.

Devotees of Django Django’s first record, who embraced the band for the eclecticism displayed on that release, may miss the variety of styles the group toyed with. But, rest assured, Born Under Saturn finds Django Django in a solid place musically, showcasing enough instrumental proficiency and studio gimmickry to keep their fans happy while simultaneously, welcomingly reaching out to the uninitiated.

Rating: 8.5/10

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