Scottish psychedelic pop quartet Django Django have withstood the hype well. After garnering attention for their already confident and fully-formed sound in the late 2000s (blood relations between the group and fellow Scottish greats the Beta Band were widely reported as a minor but significant detail), the band tempted fate by waiting until 2012 for a proper debut that nevertheless earned rave reviews and a Mercury Prize nomination. A similarly received followup arrived in 2015, and here we are again with Marble Skies, another frankly great album.
The band's strength lies in their ability to distil from wide influences ('60s British psychedelia, ethereal Beach Boys-style surf, '80s synth-pop), a sound that's familiar in its elements yet nonetheless original. Album opener "Marble Skies" is reminiscent of a handful of very specific '80s pop singles that you just can't quite put your finger on, for instance. To be referential without being derivative can be tricky, but Django Django pull it off with ease.
The late-album one-two-punch of "Beam Me Up" and "In Your Beat" is another highlight, the former sounding almost like the kind of groovy, tongue-in-cheek industrial pop music Pop Will Eat Itself once made; the latter offering up a slice of pure indie dance-pop, à la Passion Pit or perhaps MGMT. Fans of these last two bands who have tastes that also stretch into the past a bit would do well to check out Marble Skies. It's a mature and refined album woven deeply enough into pop's historical fabric to please connoisseurs, but with enough lightness and fun for casual appeal as well. (Ribbon)