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Album Review: Glowing in the Dark by Django Django

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Django Django are a British, four piece indie rock/pop band from London. Ever since the release of their self-titled debut, they have maintained that popularity and continued to grow. While I think their 2012 days are over, it's nice to see them evolve and see how their sound has changed over the past ten years. Glowing in the Dark marks Django Django's fourth studio album.

The first track from their new album is Spirals, which marks their longest track on the album, clocking in at five minutes. It's a bit of an interesting start to their album, but they always have some grand way to start the album. You have an ascending synth line that starts to speed up after every progression. Eventually the introduction cuts out and you have a grooving bass line. Once you hit the chorus, you get your usual Django Django vibe, especially with the layers of vocals. While this has been growing on me and quickly became a favorite of mine from the track, the vocals seem a bit lazy or lackluster.

Right the Wrongs starts off quietly, but eventually adds in some energetic 80s guitar licks. Once the quick introduction with the quick guitar bursts are over, the full instrumentation starts to come in and adds some interesting layers. It is a quick track for them since it's just a bit over two minutes in length, but it is definitely a fun and dance-able track. I was expecting the track to go out with more of a flare, but overall, a decent track.

Got Me Worried opens up with some drumbeats with an awkward guitar switching between octaves. Eventually that fades out and you get more of an electronic vibe which definitely reminds me of some of their work on their self-titled debut. While I originally was getting bored by this track, I was blown away by the chorus of vocals about halfway through the track. I enjoyed that part, but the rest of the parts of the track get stale quickly. If I was someone who was just trying to find new music, I probably would have skipped this track after a minute.

The clapping from the previous track smoothly runs into Waking Up. For whatever reason, the lead vocals from Django Django mixed with Charlotte Gainsbourg gives me a MGMT vibe. Also, the instrumentation does have some of that influence. It's mainly just a guitar that keeps on playing for the majority of the track, but the synths add a nice and light mood to the track. Other than that, this track seems to be focusing on moving on and looking to the future instead of the past.

Free from Gravity was one of the promotional tracks for this album. While I haven't really paid attention to Django Django's latest work, this one got me excited for the album since it was unique enough, but still has their old influence in the music. It's a pretty simple beat with just a drum beat and a bass, but it completely changes once the chorus comes in. You have the electronic notes just come in and let loose, as well as some orchestral strings.

Headrush opens up with some rushing percussion notes, then opens up to some snappy guitar licks that are similar to what we've heard on Right the Wrongs. I don't know how to explain it, but the vocals seem a bit different leading up to the chorus. Also, you have some high falsetto notes from the chorus of vocalists which is a bit different than what we've heard on this album so far. While this track doesn't follow a simple pop/rock pattern, I can't seem to enjoy this track. It just seems like a bland track for them. Also, the last twenty seconds seem like a complete waste of track time. They could have shortened it so it would run into the next track.
 
As stated before, the previous track runs into The Ark which is actually a fully instrumental track, and it is a bit experimental in nature. You have some random electronic notes that bring you in until a synth starts to play some notes. It does some eerie and haunting at times with the random notes that come in at different times. As random as this track does sound at times, it's actually a fun track I think, especially as the halfway point of the album. It may point to a shifting point in the album.

Night of the Buffalo starts off with a strong percussive beat and then some energetic electric guitar parts. Besides that, as I've said with some previous tracks, the vocals seem a bit different than what we normally get with Django Django, until we get to the chorus, when things start to sound somewhat familiar. It's definitely something I was surprised to see on this album since it doesn't really follow with the current theme.

The World Will Turn marks the shortest track on the album and is a full acoustic track with just a single string guitar. We do have some vocal harmonies thrown in there, not as much as some previous tracks though. I do enjoy the different harmonies that were thrown in there during the chorus since it adds some extra layers on a very minimalist-like track. Other than that, it talks about waiting for this one person to come back to him.

Kick the Devil Out starts with a doorbell and an odd 'Hello there!' Based on the title of the track, he's probably saying hello to 'the devil'. This definitely seems a bit more rock and instrumental infused rather than electronic, which is a nice change of pace. The track seems to talk about kicking out the devil of his home. While if he's actually talking about the devil is debatable, I believe some fans are thinking it may reference a significant other or drugs.

Next, we finally come to the title track of the album, Glowing in the Dark. Besides the different drum kit we get at the beginning, we finally arrive back to the normal and ecstatic electronic synths that they are so fond of. While lyrically it doesn't seem like much is going on, there's so much to admire, just because it's so catchy. The line where they repeat 'glowing in the dark', just makes it more exciting and leaves us wanting more.

Hold Fast starts off with some distorted percussive beats, but opens up with some descending electronic synths. This is another track where there isn't much going on vocally, especially with the long build up at the beginning of the track. This is definitely one of those emotional tracks, but more so in a good way. While it seems like they might be going through a hard time, he's asking her to hold fast since things will eventually go their way.

The final track we get from the album is Asking for More. We get a fast synth beat that starts off the track. Based on the last few tracks of the album, this could be a continuing story from the previous track since he mentions 'we gotta go', which could mention the end of the relationship. While they had a good time and a good run with each other, it's time for them to part ways since both of them are left wanting more.

While the second half of the album brought this score up, I feel like Django Django tried to play it safe with this album. To me, it just seems like there are too many 'safe' track options instead of exploring different pathways or making it more exciting. Other than that, there are some solid track choices on here.
Overall Rating: 7/10
Favorite Tracks: Spirals, Right the Wrongs, Free from Gravity, The World Will Turn, Glowing in the Dark
 
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