Django Django, Heaven, London

4.00

 

The Mercury Prize isn’t much to get excited about these days. Despite its judges’ best efforts, it’s an increasingly predictable marketing tool for a more upmarket demographic than the Brits.

Try telling that to 2012 nominees Django Django, though, whose self-titled debut album has some of the utopian, future-forging pop vision the Prize was surely designed for.The suits, singer-guitarist Vincent Neff proudly mentions, are just back from the dry-cleaners, all ready for the ceremony. The families of a band drawn from Edinburgh, Dundee, Leeds and Neff’s native Derry are in the audience for their biggest London gig, and staying down for the Awards two days later.

The sense of occasion could hardly be greater for a band delighted to be in Heaven(which is packed). They start with a fast tribal thump and ceremonial cymbal splashes, a ritual sort of prologue which eventually leads to “Storm”, their debut single from three years ago, which sums up Django Django’s strengths.

They splice much of what happened between synth-pop and Britpop, and a great deal of what fed into that. The played-out early 1980s revival is just a sliver of their sound, present in Tommy Grace’s banks of synths, and the Venetian blinds which descend for “Hail Bop”, as if they've been transported into the Thatcher noir of a Visage video.

They make neo-psychedelic dance-pop, most of the time. There’s something of the Stone Roses in the vocals and rhythms, Blur too, but they’ve been listening to Can and Link Wray as well. Though all the sounds are familiar, Django Django conjure a natural, quite new hybrid.

The pretty, creamy harmonies could be the Beach Boys. “Life’s A Beach” is propulsive garage-rock, drained of the genre’s 1960s darkness. “Skies Over Cairo” invokes the snake-charmer synth of The Specials’ “Ghost Town”, but this is 2-Tone retooled as time-warped post-techno synth-pop.

As it pounds its way towards a final muezzin wail, Django Django gather in the middle, all on percussion, reduced to spotlit silhouettes. Rhythms are at the core of a band led by drummer/producer David Maclean, but on “Love’s Dart” they’re delivered by coconut shells, and elsewhere by hand-claps. Django Django value the analogue and imperfect, using what’s to hand.

Their music is relentlessly optimistic, which is how they feel about pop. Tonight, as they dust down their suits, they must feel they have good reason to be.

Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Hollywood

'Whether he left is almost immaterial'TV
Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before