Disc of the week

Django Django: A lovely bunch of coconuts

The Globe and Mail

The foursome’s self-titled debut evokes moods and images and memories and senses, with coconuts used for a galloping effect and silverware percussion thrown in for good measure.

Title

Django Django

Artist

Django Django

Label

Ribbon Music

Rating

3.5/4

In an interview with the Guardian, the drummer of Django Django said something to the effect that his favourite records, including those by the Beach Boys and Bo Diddley, were the ones containing mistakes. He also talked about his use of coconuts on the debut record from the London-based group.

I hear those coconuts. But I don’t hear the mistakes.

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Django Django – forgive me if I repeat myself – makes lofty psychedelic folk music, fun stuff that is full of dance, adventure and eight-mile-high harmonies. This self-titled disc, which came out earlier in the year overseas, is out here digitally on Aug. 14, with physical copies arriving Sept. 25. There are Beach Boys and Diddley references, and the wild riffs of Link Wray strut their way in. Fans of the sadly departed Beta Band have something new and lighter to explore. And the hot-club jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt doesn’t figure at all.

“Sit down and talk to me,” Hand of a Man begins softly. “Think of colours, shapes and harmony; put you where the space becomes a scene – open up your eyes and start to dream.” This is the kind of thing the foursome does. Its sounds evoke moods and images and memories and senses, with those things often described lyrically, in real time. “That’s the place where songs and laughs begin,” singer-guitarist Vincent Neff closes, his vocals stacked but airy against hand claps and a slim synthetic beat. “Go back and take the hand of man.”

About those coconuts: Love’s Dart uses them for a galloping effect. There’s also a bluesy two-string acoustic drone, with a type of psychedelia that is pastoral. Throw in some silverware percussion for good measure. And when Neff sings about remembering “the girl with the golden hair,” you not only do that, but you recall the scent of her shampoo and other inside information too.

Zumm Zumm is a clacky, larky cha-cha thing, up until a serene break comes “straight out of nowhere, the greatest thing; seen nothing like it, just like a dream.” Well, yes, like that, now that you mention it. Life’s a Beach sounds like surf rock at Sun Studio. A few bars after I think I hear a little of Allen Toussaint’s 1962 song Fortune Teller, Neff sings about a crystal ball.

This is a record about wavelengths and going with the flows. Crystal ball? The future for them is bright. Django Django gets it, gets it.

 

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