“Nothing sees me. No one can hear me. Somebody beam me up.” When being grounded on Earth becomes unbearable, we often look to the skies for an answer. Feeling that a trip to the heavens will solve everything. One day during at a music festival in Chicago, the four members of Django Django noticed the sheer beauty of the sky floating above them. It resembled the fractured pattern of marble. That important moment inspired their third album Marble Skies both lyrically and through their production techniques.
Marble Skies is a very enjoyable and exciting record as the art rock band who usually shift between rockabilly and electronica add tropical dancehall, krautrock, house beats and psychedelic folk (some tracks have a hazy mellotron, tambourine percussion and a nostalgic vocal style that all make them sound like Temples) to the list of conquered genres.
Yet, no matter how many musical avenues they cross, their one-of-a-kind production style links everything together cohesively and stops it from being a jumbled mess. The production could be described as springy, hiccupy, hallucinogenic and effervescent. Using tricks such as echoes and ascending/descending Shepard tone. The sum of all this character brings the feeling of elevating up to the marble skies that were previously observed.
Those marble skies have also impacted on Django Django’s lyrics which use celestial and weather metaphors poetically including: “Cool winds will blow, we’ll try to show how we feel“(‘In Your Beat’), “lightning falling out of sync” (‘Beam Me Up’) “Still like the wind amongst the trees on the edge of town.” (‘Further’) and “Feeling it start to rain” (‘Sundials’). There’s even a nicely added rain sound on the aforementioned ‘Sundials’ to further demonstrate the preoccupation with nature.
Looking at the skies may have also made them think about the nature of time, as this is also analysed on the speedy song about the everyday mundane ‘Tic Tac Toe’ (“Don’t go slow, you’re wasting time”), the surprising dancehall ‘Surface To Air’ (“The clock is keeping time“) – the first Django Django song to be sung by an outside vocalist, this time Self Esteem’s Rebecca Taylor – and the saxophone-including ‘Sundials’ (“Time is ever growing faster“).
Their best reflective lyrics are on ‘Real Gone’, an ominous prediction of a destroyed society where the only survivors are full of regret: “Seen no sign of life round here/The streets are clear/We could have done more“. It’s laser-filled space age rhythm which you could imagine soundtracking a science-fiction epic.
One of the natures of marble is how varied its form is and yet it always contains recognisable features. Perhaps an apt metaphor for the eclectic yet distinctive Django Django.
Marble Skies is out now on Because Music.