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Review: Django Django at Leeds University Union

8 December 2015
Review: Django Django at Leeds University Union
A synthesiser uprising was the only way to describe Stylus on the 5th of December. Django Django, supported by Stealing Sheep - a night that was bound to be a display of intense psychedelia dark pop, yet still retain an experience that was both full of haunting harmonic expression and visually engaging. Described by a rampant fan during one of their gigs in the lead singer’s hometown of Liverpool as a mix of Bjork and the Beatles of Liverpool - stealing Sheep, a trio formed in Liverpool in early 2010 combine visual stimuli, haunting harmonies, and airy textures into their music. Their most recent performance consisted of matching bright yellow and pink fluorescent jumpsuits - which were then complemented by their dark and quirky synth lines, as well as the minimal percussive elements combined with the trio’s chilling three part harmonies.

But the main headliner, Django Django, took the electronic side of things and gave it their grittier and fatter take on it. Always tending to embrace their own self-proclaimed oddity, it was clear from their performance at the Stylus that only 3 years after their debut self-titled album released in 2012, their ’Born Under Saturn’ album in 2015 demonstrated that their musical eccentricity and electiveness has only increased. Through even more rhythmically driven production by drummer Dave Maclean, particularly prominent in the track ‘Shake and Tremble’ - the four graduates from Edinburgh College of Art have demonstrated that they are fully capable of honing their collective voice over their years of persistent touring and writing into a more concise formula, demonstrating through their heavy vocal processing along with their ethereal synth lines a clear influence of pre - Dark Side of the Moon Floyd-esque style.

Having also seen further popularity arising from their folk infused track ‘Slow West’ being featured on the most recent film on Steve Jobs, it’s hardly a surprise as to why this group of underground art students from Scotland are opening their arms to more and more fans across the North.

However, there is still a clear retention of that Django Django sound in their latest album, and you can still hear those driving rock and roll 4 to the floor rhythms persisting. ’Shake and Tremble’s’ eery vocal lines descend from the likes of Blur’s ‘Parklife’ just with a heavier accent on that typical straight kick-snare pattern. I should really lightly use the phrase ‘kick’ and ‘snare’ with this band, considering much of the material played live and within the actual recordings themselves - is not on a typical drum kit, but on a cardboard box covered in tape. Oh, and it has a shaker taped to a hi-hat… Yet what makes this minimal set up work is the textural manipulation of the box, which can be credited to David’s use of delay. This further emphasises the percussive and rhythmical focus of the band and reinforces the lengths this group will go to produce a different sound. Their sound.

By Alessio Scozzaro
Alessio is a Volunteer Writer for Leeds Living covering events all across the city, on topics such as eat/drink, retail therapy, music/dance and culture.