Jungle have been one of the more enigmatic come ups of recent times. They feature two members named J and T who often only appear when they’re with crowds of people and perform their sets while deeply hidden by shadow. Jungle’s rise into the industry has also been one that snuck under many people’s radars. Seemingly out of nowhere they seem to have infiltrated the industry until they are now one of the most hyped new bands coming out of England. While Jungle’s music on the surface is a very upbeat, fun album, it’s layered with an underlying darkness throughout that looms over it no matter how much finger snapping is featured on the album.
Jungle have taken many influences from 70s music such as the BeeGees, you can hear this most clearly in the falsetto vocals that sound unbelievably smooth. This is kind of odd and so distinctly human for a duo so mysterious. It’s not exactly like any other mysterious duos such as Daft Punk in which everything is done through vocoders and the most soul you get is guest appearances. No – this is genuinely soulful and heartfelt and they sing with pure passion. The nature of a voice like this will be jarring for some, but once you adjust to it you can unravel the layers in this music.
On surface level there would appear to have many of the tropes from soul/funk acts of the 70s in the music as well as the vocals. There are many hand claps and snaps of the fingers, as well as crisp snare drums and eccentric keyboards. But with repeat listens you’ll realise there’s much more than that. There’s haunting instrumentation fluttered about all over the place underneath all of the funk. There is instrumentation that sounds like it’s been fed back through a machine backwards and then pasted into the song. There are horns that sound extremely dark and gloomy and an atmosphere that is far too ghostly to be playing underneath tracks that are so instantly pleasing such as on ‘Platoon’. Some of the songs such as ‘Drops’ seem to be all about atmosphere with little guitar licks thrown in as the harmonic vocals simply lead the track forward in such a smooth manor while the haunting instrumentation creeps underneath it. This is the way that Jungle always keep the presence of uncertainty in their music as much they have in their image, by having their music the source of mystery.
Jungle have created a record that is instantly pleasing on first listen and even more pleasing on the second. It’s a record that clearly lays down it’s influences yet are not simply imitating them. They’re manipulating them, and turning them into a modern day funk/pop record that sounds genuine.