Djo Life is a singer/songwriter hailing from the “sun drenched environs” of Tucson, Arizona, as he puts it. He also rather amusingly describes himself as a ‘one piece band’. His music is essentially alternative acoustic pop, with tinges of electronica that give the music a modern sound. There’s a charming quirkiness to his style that brought to mind The Flaming Lips and even a touch of 90’s alt-pop legends They Might Be Giants. His previous releases include French Cigarettes, The Cactus Song, A Little Love and the excellent Because She’s Sleeping, which I recently reviewed.
This song, Like Clockwork, consolidates his signature style as a songwriter who writes about subjects that look at life in a slightly offbeat way, rather reminiscent of Randy Newman. This one is an astute piece of social observation, noting the strangely recurrent patterns of human behaviour, including his own. Something as quotidian as going for a coffee is made a subject of fascination: “The magical elixir, well it keeps me stopping by….like clockwork“.
Musically, its upbeat acoustic-led style made me think of 90’s group The Lemonheads, and Djo has a voice not unlike Evan Dando (a good thing). He mixes in some MGMT-esque synth sounds into the music, which adds to its quirky charm and alternative vibe. The line towards the end about calling his parents every day to hear their voices is touching and unexpected, but its these idiosyncrasies that make Djo a unique songwriter.
Overall, this is another great song that takes ordinary subject matter and makes you look at it in a slightly different way, as all good art should do. It helps that he has a gift for writing consistently strong top-tapping melodies, which won’t do his commercial prospects any harm. I feel convinced that he will accrue a large following over time, and this is another song that will win him plenty of new fans.
VERDICT: 8.5 out of 10
Djo Life is a singer/songwriter hailing from the “drenched environs” of Tucson, Arizona, as he puts it. He also rather amusingly describes himself as a ‘one piece band’. His music is essentially alternative acoustic pop, with tinges of electronica that give the music a modern sound. There’s a charming quirkiness to his style that brought to mind The Flaming Lips and even a touch of 90’s alt-pop legends They Might Be Giants.
That group excelled in writing songs about unusual subjects, and this song, Because She’s Sleeping, is also worthy of that category. It’s a rather sweet ode to his eighteen year old Persian cat called Boux Boux and her penchant for sleeping. If that sounds twee on paper, fear not. Djo takes a potentially saccharine subject and makes it simply endearingly affectionate and heartwarming.
Musically, it’s led by a lilting, extremely memorable vocal melody and strummed acoustic guitar. His voice is strong and radio friendly, though I’m not sure how much stock he places in commercial ambitions. The vocals are augmented by a nice synth string melody that acts as a counterpoint and enriches the sound. After the addictively catchy verse, the second section has some great lines: “I want to dream at the top of my voice…”. It’s that kind of dreamy surrealism that made John Lennon such an interesting songwriter.
Overall, this is an extremely enjoyable pop track in a similar style to The Beatles classic Martha My Dear, which will appeal right across the board. Djo Life has a likeable musical persona and a winning way with a melody, along with a strong, distinctive voice. I can see him developing a large following, being placed perfectly between alternative and mainstream pop. Because She’s Sleeping will be another important step towards this and a particular favourite among feline fans, me included.
VERDICT: 8.6 out of 10