To an extent, Django Django are victims of their own excellence. Following the success and raw ubiquity of their breakout self-titled debut in 2012, it has always felt as if the band were chasing their own tails.
This isn’t to say that each consecutive release hasn’t been intriguing in its own right. In fact, whether it be 2015’s Born Under Saturn and its lengthy dalliance with the dance floor or the recently released Marble Skies the band has always enjoyed modest critical acclaim. In spite of this, Django Django have never been as jaw-droppingly consistent as they were with their inaugural release and this is made no clearer than on their newest release.
Winter’s Beach sees the band continue to invest in their idiosyncratic sound but disappointingly without adding anything unexpected to their distinguished repertoire. The new EP serves more as a compendium of songs which, for whatever reason, weren’t included in Marble Skies.
This isn’t to say that what’s here isn’t enjoyable however and moments of brilliance do exist here. ‘Sand Dunes’ for example is reminiscent of the band’s toe-tapping roots, whilst "Winter’s Beach" and its ethereal clarinet accompaniment acts a decidedly stark opener to the EP and is surely one of the band’s most experimental pieces to date.
Additionally, Winter’s Beach highlights the band’s unrivalled ear for production, seeing the group’s signature sound deftly & ornamentally preserved. Vincent Neff & Jimmy Dixon’s psychedelic harmonies are framed in soft, synthetic reverb, whilst the percussion chimes out sharply across the whirring and whizzing of the band’s instantly recognisable Jen Synthetone SX1000.
Above all else, Winter’s Beach is more Django Django, and although that certainly won’t prove an issue for avid fans, the EP lacks the indispensable quality and variation of the band’s earliest material.