Perfectly crafted pop
Django Django - Live At XOYO, London

Omnivore Demon are as oxymoronic as their name suggests. They emerge in striped, peaked cowls and stone-age tunics then launch into what can only be described as free-form metal. Think a combination of Tool and Rammstein going really avant garde. Bemused hipsters start to question if they’ve wondered into the wrong gig when the noise imperceptibly merges into hip hop, then drum and bass, then indie rock… This all makes more sense when you know that three of the band’s members are from experimental outfit The Phantom Band, and that Demon is a freeform improvisation ensemble. There are moments of shining brilliance, particularly in the transitions between styles, and there’s no doubting the bands’ talent - it’s just a little like listening to an exercise in musical improv: challenging, impressive and thought provoking, but only sporadically enjoyable.

To a backdrop of their soon-to-be iconic smiley face, one of the most talked-about new bands of the year take to the stage in delightfully geeky matching shirts. They’re endearingly touched to be here, at one point declaring to the punters of this mid-sized venue: “Wow, there’s a lot of you!” Bless. As the sound of a rainforest being visited by spaceship from a galaxy far far away seeps into the packed room, anyone still not sure if they’re at the right gig can now be certain that this is Django Django, the only band currently melding prehistoric swamp sounds with futuristic blips and wips.

‘Hail Bop’ starts with its Kraftwerk-esque intro before that ridiculously catchy riff sets in and a dance hall atmosphere takes over the room. ‘Default’ defies anyone not to tap at least one foot, and inhibitions are soon lost to this indie-pop stomp with yet another killer riff shot through with cheeky, intelligent synths. One of the band’s strengths is surely the way that each musical component – from keyboards to the shared vocal duties to the coconuts on ‘Love’s Dart’ - are never gimmicky or superfluous, and that everything this band does has a pivotal role in each perfectly-crafted pop song.

Like Obtuse Demons although with more success, these art-geek rockers aren’t afraid to plumb genres and styles with abandon. ‘Firewater’ has a wonderful bluesy, ‘60s feel and ‘Waveforms’ begins with a hard house “wob wob wob wob wob”, while ‘Skies Over Cairo’ sets a faux-Egyptian scale set to tribal beats, all of which provokes a rapturous response both on and off stage. If a band can be distilled in to a single, undiluted emotion, then Django Django are pure joy. They love being there, we love being here – this is clearly the start of a beautiful relationship.

Words by Theresa Heath
Photo by Rachel Lipsitz

Click here for a photo gallery of the gig.

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