In a world where seemingly every musical variation and possibility has been done to death, Jungle’s sound comes across as a fresh and individual one. The London-based duo appear to be the latest act to explode while royally defying categorisation as folk have scrambled to conjure up an appropriate umbrella genre to shove them under neatly. The truth is Jungle’s sound borrows from a balanced mix of styles both retro and modern and delivers it all in a charmingly unique package which has only been made the more intriguing thanks to their reluctance to reveal their identities. The fact that this mysterious, faceless group was producing such party-ready anthems as ‘Busy Earnin’ and ‘The Heat’ seemed a peculiar prospect but it was done apparently to avoid detracting focus on the music itself.
This seems a peculiar insurance given that Jungle’s music is based around the kind of irresistible grooves and choruses that anyone can get on board with instantaneously. Early singles ‘Platoon’ and the aforementioned ‘The Heat’ and ‘Busy Earnin’ are all present here on their debut album and prove to be fitting ambassadors of the new songs on Jungle also – dance-ability and hooks are largely prioritised over emotion or lyrical depth. Most of the songs though leave a lasting impression thanks to Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland’s – as we now know them – refined songwriting ability and memorable approach to vocals which propel the floaty ride of ‘Accelerate’ and the urgency of ‘Julia’s chorus to sure album highpoints.
Jungle is unquestionably chocked full of fantastic pop songs however the winning formula is stretched too far by its conclusion as songs merge into one another with little to differentiate themselves. The intertwined falsetto of Lloyd-Watson and McFarland becomes irksome after 30 relentless minutes until ‘Lemonade Lake’ finds it with a renewed conviction thanks to the track’s wash of synths and heartbroken couplets. In short Jungle showcases a young, qualified band confident with their sound but one cannot help but wish for a bit more variance.