“If you’re walking in circles you’ll find yourselves back at the start…” are the unintentionally referential lyrics of ‘Love Darts’, the first song Edinburgh originated, London fused, art-funkers Django Django have played in the Scottish capital in 18 months, following some creative incubation down south.
After meeting through studies at the ECA, one by one the four piece all had good enough reason to relocate around the trendy triangle of Dalston/Hoxton/Shoreditch and gave birth to live versions of electronic bedroom jams some four years ago.
After cracking things open, they quickly spun into the other half of their debut Double-A side , ‘Storm’. Easily their best known number, from featuring alongside some esteemed company (The Drums, the xx) on Rough Trade’s 2009 ‘Over The Counter Culture‘ compilation, it was surprising to see it so quickly dispatched – and with such twitchy confidence.
Seeping into the core of the set was current release, ‘Waveforms’, a mounting poly-rhythmic beat with vocal harmonies that huddle around the warmth of a Roland Juno. There isn’t a moment of futzing to synth-master Tommy Grace’s performance.
Even with the array of knobs to noodle over, it was impressive to hear such a comfortable and uncomplicated bed for the eye-catching percussion to crashland on without it bouncing around harshly in the mix – even more impressive in a tight venue like Sneaky’s.
It’s hard to firmly pin down the influences behind their kaledoscopic pop calypso, so well blended are its elements. Watching the recordings being dissected live throws more cats amongst the pigeons: bassist Jimmy Dixon thumbs and strums from top to bottom of his strings in a single pincher motion, delivering abject chord that don’t need to side-step the incessant floor tom rumble from drummer Dave MacLean.
MacLean, as de-facto manifesto writer (and the simple fact it was his bedroom this all oozed from originally) is the unique component that makes Django Django’s landslide of art school bred eclectics tick, dicing up the cowbell and mashing cymbals in refreshing measures.
At the front of things singer Vincent Neff shields poignant lyrics and plucky guitar work behind a wall of velvety reverb that aids the smoothness in the blend, as well as softening the blows behind various wooden instruments he strikes the rest of the time.
With such a depth it’s as if they’ve never encountered the flagging genres of once rife nu-rave or math rock, instead reclining into tongue in cheek surf rock ‘Life’s A Beach’ and the instrumental Egyptian-waltz of ‘Skies Over Cairo’.
Survival in the competitive spotlight of London might have driven lesser groups to popier numbers once their hype started to simmer, but it’s clear this ensemble focus on what they think really matters without taking the rest unnecessarily seriously. The kitsch coordination behind their hand made stage attire underlines this before you’ve seen them play a note.
It’s been a wee while since we’ve seen such a tight squeeze at the stage lip of our favourite shoebox venue but Sneaky Pete’s has an excellent booking record for bands stretching their studio weary legs before a subsequent release catapults them into the bigger capacity venues.
Whilst we’re sure the set opens the same each night (and closes with the literally riotous jamboree of ‘Wor’) but we hope the prefacing line in the opening number, “no longer sharp, the end’s in sight”, is many years away from being a reality for Django Django.
There’s a lot of folk out there, especially across the pond, that are going to get very obsessed, very quickly about these guys when the debut LP lands in February/March 2012.
Get shaking your coconuts to theirs’ down the front while you still can.