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Born Under Saturn is the second studio album from London-based art rock band Django Django, following the release of their self-titled debut in 2012. Django Django has managed to master their psychedelic sound through an array of synth-pop, electro, and indie rock influences. The LP was recorded over a period of 18 months and produced by drummer Dave Maclean.
The album opens with “Giant”, a track that clocks in at nearly six minutes long. “Shake and Tremble” sees the quartet repurpose surf-guitar riffs without it sounding too much like surf rock, though that vibe is definitely present. It’s easily one of my favourite songs on the album, and for me this is the track that sees them furthest from what they created on their debut effort Django Django.
“Found You” is another highlight. “First Light” is one of the better tracks on the album; it’s vaguely psychedelic and lyrically interesting (“Sending out a signal from a city, we went / Towards a future that is greener than the money we spent / Discover beaches buried deeper underneath the cement / Look down through the cracks for the gold that they’re hiding”).
“Pause Repeat” makes use of offbeat, syncopated rhythm and key changes. The seemingly monotone vocals remind me of their earlier stuff, though the chorus mixes this up a bit—but perhaps not as successfully as it could have done. These layered vocal harmonies are a prominent aspect of Born Under Saturn, much like on Django Django before it. “Reflections” similarly makes heavy use of the layered harmonies, with their strong accents being juxtaposed against Caribbean-inspired rhythms.
Born Under Saturn is a clear display of ability, after an incredibly difficult-to-follow debut release. It’s more of the same, but in a good way, and they’ve definitely built on their sound. However, the general consensus amongst critics seems to be that the album could have used a little more fine-tuning, and I have to agree. Some of the tracks are a bit too lengthy and it feels like they’re overextending themselves. It’s clear that Born Under Saturn definitely could have benefitted from some editing. It’s a great album, but not as jaw-dropping as their Mercury-nominated debut LP—though undoubtedly still worth a listen.