Django Django

Marble Skies 

Ribbon Music

Five years after a Mercury nominated 2012 debut album, the four-piece Edinburgh-formed avant-pop combo have hit what is traditionally supposed to be their difficult third album.

After producing some of the most enticingly canorous singalong earworms to have a kilt on it in the likes of Life's a Beach, Hail Bop and Reflections, it is hard to believe that they could maintain let alone overtake past glories.

Early tasters in the form of the upbeat joy of Tic Tac Toe and In Your Beat signposted a band that were far from intimidated by history, creating vibrantly playful pop songs that embrace the language of surf, electropop and rockabilly without ever being constrained by them.

After starting out as a group of friends, classmates and flatmates attending Edinburgh College of Art in the early-2000s, the Djangos fashioned a intelligent harmonies-and-melody-driven template on their self-titled debut which was given a kaleidoscopic psych tweak with their second album Born Under Saturn.

Marble Skies is nearly a quarter-of-an-hour shorter than Born Under Saturn, clocking in at an old school-concise 40 minutes, perhaps designed to cover two sides of vinyl.

It drifts effortlessly into different moods sometimes trippy, sometimes psychedelic, sometimes dancefloor, making this their most intoxicating long player yet.

What remains in the band's DNA are big hooks and they kick off the album with one of their biggest, Marble Skies, featuring a killer chorus and an electropop synth reminiscent of early 80s era Depeche Mode. Anyone who thought the album was going to lack surprises, was in for a surprise.

Next comes the disorientating but ultimately satisfying inclusion of Surface To Air, a Jamaican dancehall-influenced tune fronted by Rebecca Taylor of Sheffield indie-pop duo Slow Club.

It is as far away from a Djangos song as they have made, is devoid of any of singer/guitarist Vincent Neff's falsetto or the sublime harmonies that have become their signature. I had to check my player to ensure it had not skipped to a Capital radio show by mistake.

HeraldScotland:

It was originally meant to be a duet for Taylor and Neff, although the Djangos’ singer noted that it was beginning to sound “a bit Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton”.

So it has become the first Django Django track to solely feature an outside singer.

The chilled out bassy Champagne sets things back in order, while Further further explores rockabilly textures.

Sundials is a blissfully jazzy beach-kissed hymn featuring a smooth clarinet part that was created with the help of the Jan Hammer, the Czech-born musician best known for his film scores for television and film including the Miami Vice Theme and Crockett's Theme.

The oscillating Beam Me Up draws parallels to Depeche Mode when they discovered darker moods while Real Gone adds a twist of Gary Numan synth into a bewitching mash.

The narcotic Fountains rounds it all off beautifully like the Beach Boys had discovered mescaline.

So the Djangos continue to confound the expectations of how art pop should be while making some of the most uplifting tunes-first music around.

Nobody else in the world currently sounds like them, or even dare try. For that reason alone the world should treasure the Djangos.  

Released on January 26.