Jungle album review: Jungle
Can we have an end to the mystery band meme now please? Jungle initially went out of their way to make sure people didn’t have a clue who they were. When the dry ice cleared and Jungle began to play live shows, the pair behind the anonymity were revealed to be west Londoners Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland, formerly of Mercury-signed Britpop revivalists Born Blonde. Not quite TV thriller-level intrigue, in fairness.
In many cases, the current fad for a hackneyed reluctance to reveal identities is usually about adding the heft and substance that’s clearly lacking in the musical department. Such a tactic is superfluous here because the real revelation about Jungle is that they’ve produced one of the albums of the season.
Full of shuffling funk, disco and soul, it’s a record of feel-good pop grooves, sunny blasts and serotonin galore, one that demands open windows and hazy summer afternoons. When the sounds are this vibrant, it doesn’t matter a jot who the Junglists actually are.
Jungle have a swagger, but it’s an attribute backed up by a parade of loose-limbed tunes with the plot points to work well from dancefloor to radio. The Heat and Busy Earnin’ are the chief cheerleaders, but most tracks come with a baked-in flourish to keep you in the zone.
There’s also an intriguing darker side to the material, as the band massage the stress of inner-city living and urban ennui into the grooves. It’s not all sunshine on this side of the tracks. Be it how Platoon captures the funky euphoria of a small-hours gathering or the tricky, soulful, mesmerising momentum of Lucky I Got What I Want, Jungle make all the right connections.
You can hear a lot of influences – from Talking Heads to Prince to Happy Mondays – but the proof of the pudding comes in how well this record of future- funk party favourites works so well on repeat. junglejunglejungle.com
Download: Busy Earnin’, The Heat, Platoon