Since being the most hyped band of late 2013, Jungle have dropped the veil of mystery just in time to release their self-titled début record. Tom McFarland and Josh Lloyd-Watson are the guys you can now attribute Jungle’s signature sound to, both of them having toiled for three years as members of Brit-pop styled band Born Blonde before hitting the big time with Jungle. “Jungle is the music we always wanted to make” Tom recently told NME, and judging by the tidal wave of success they’re currently riding, leaving the other band behind was definitely for the best.
You might already be familiar with Jungle and their infectiously viral music videos, one of which includes the incredibly talented break dancer B-Girl Terra as the main event. ‘Platoon’ is the song she dances to and it’s a laid-back affair, well, musically that is, I wouldn’t really call her insane head spins laid-back. The music video for ‘The Heat’ features roller crew High Rollaz. They were vital in breaking the band back when they were simply known as ‘T’ and ‘J’, and so successful that many fans initially mistook them for the band themselves.
‘The Heat’ is the first track on the record and it epitomises what is to come. A whole host of influences can be spotted on this track alone, along with the retro-futuristic that runs through the veins of the entire album. Prince/Bee-Gees-esque falsetto vocals flutter on top of a psychedelic landscape oozing 70’s funk, and their use of ambient noise on this song gives it a dark, street-level quality. The dim sirens and hustle and bustle of the streets filter throughout the track and make ‘The Heat’ stand-out.
‘Busy Earnin’’ is a smooth comment on working life. It’s steady and minimal, allowing the flowing funk to set in and the soothing vocals to dance across your mind. Jungle is a record that needs to be absorbed; playing it in the background at all times this summer and pumping it louder when appropriate is advisable.
‘Crumbler’ sounds like it has stepped right out of the 70s. You’ll be humming the infectious chorus in no time, and it wouldn’t feel out of place on a Bee-Gees track. The way that these two guys from London have managed to merge influences from the past and present music scenes across the world and into something that is very forward thinking in dance music is fantastic. The fact that they are a duo, and how they started out reminds me of Disclosure’s rise to fame, let’s just hope they continue on the path they’re down and before long Jungle will be a household name. In some ways they already are having appeared recently on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
This record will be the soundtrack to barbeques everywhere this summer, and if it isn’t, then the population aren’t doing it right.