Having found a sound that worked for them on their self-titled debut album in 2012, former Edinburgh art school students Django Django evidently saw little need to mess with he formula when it came to writing a follow-up.
Born Under Saturn is a similarly enticing concotion of intelligent indie pop, electronica, psychedelia, polyrhythms and multi-part harmonies.
Drummer and producer Dave Maclean has suggested their broadmindedness is the result of “growing up being more into mix tapes than albums”, and certainly the percussion breakdown in Vibrations, the organ groove in Found You and the saxophone solo in Reflections – provided by James Mainwaring of Roller Trio – reveal catholic tastes.
What they’ve yet to write is a really killer tune, nonetheless Born Under Saturn consolidates their many good points.
Summoning the spirit of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Nine Below Zero founders Dennis Greaves and Mark Feltham embark on journey into vintage country blues.
It’s a sweetly affecting homage to their influences and one delivered with little more than an acoustic guitar and harmonica for company.
Songs such as One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer and Cornbread, Peas and Black Molasses are performed with reverence. Randy Newman’s slave tale Sail Away and Warren Zevon’s Carmelita slot in nicely too, but arguably the highlight is a lusty cover of the Area Code 615 instrumental Stone Fox Chase.
“We live for the beats!” punk ravers The Prodigy declare in the sleeve notes of their first studio album in six years and throughout the 14 tracks on The Day Is My Enemy Liam Howlett, Keith Flint and Maxim remain true to their creed.
You have to admire the fervour of this record – as titles such as Nasty, Rok-Weiler, Rhythm Bomb and Get Your Fight On indicate it’s as angry and sonically in your face as any they’ve made – and should make for a full-on assault when the Essex trio perform it live next month.
Those seeking variations in pace or tone may however find it hard going beyond track four, the sweary, Sleaford Mods assisted poke at superstar DJ culture, Ibiza.
Nevertheless it’s nice to have some genuine passion back in electronic dance music.
Released to coincide with his critically lauded UK arena tour with Sting, The Ultimate Collection draws together all of Paul Simon’s solo hits with the chart smashes he recorded with Art Garfunkel in the 1960s.
Despite the familiarity of these songs, Simon’s brilliantly perceptive turn of phrase is regularly striking. Few lyricists could match lines such as “There is a girl in New York City/Who calls herself the human trampoline/And sometimes when I’m falling, flying/Or tumbling in turmoil I say/Whoa, so this is what she means” (from Graceland) or “Sonny’s yearbook from high school/Is down from the shelf/And he idly thumbs through/Some have died/Some have fled from themselves/Or struggled from here to get there” (from The Obvious Child).
And fewer still have touched a universal nerve in the way Simon did with The Boxer, America and Bridge Over Troubled Water. Both as a chronicler of his times and observer of the human condition, he has few peers.