Jungle – Jungle (XL Recordings, 2014)
Way back in the day, I listened to, favourited and promptly reposted ‘Busy Earnin’ (that’s in Internet terms, in real life terms it was 5 months ago) and then, I’m embarrassed to say, I kinda… forgot about Jungle.
Until last week when, while happily riding on the 607 to Shepherd’s Bush, I saw the huge poster space at Shepherd’s Bush Market station boasting the word Jungle on a black background and thought to myself ‘Waaaait a second…’
Jungle are J and T and that’s all we know about them – no full names, no faces, no ages, no nothing aside from the info that they’ve been mates since they were kids in west London (Acton? I’m gonna pretend everyone’s from my neighbourhood, yes).
And while usually in such a situation I would roll my eyes so hard that I’d give myself a headache, I really don’t seem to mind in this case.
It’s probably because the music is so fucking cool that no parts of the big mystery seem gratuitous or pretentious.
Fucking cool is exactly what every track on Jungle’s self-titled album sounds like.
Yes, it’s soulful and it’s smooth and it has a 70’s aesthetic but it’s also ‘neo’ and ‘post’ and ‘future’. The funk is being brought but it’s a mellow funk accompanied by the appropriate synthful, double-tracked, stylized urban feel. There’s a firmness but it’s wrapped in casual melancholia.
And is that a breeze of psychedelic electronica that I’m sensing (probably not, I’m insane today)?
So you know how all of that combined sounds in two words? Fucking cool.
The YouTube ID of I is invalid.
I’ve had ‘Julia’ on repeat for about half an hour because it’s one of those tracks where you’re like “I could change it but then I wouldn’t be listening to it one more time”. Hashtag genius.
‘Busy Earnin’ is just the jam, man. It’s the theme song to the quintessential 70’s show about impossibly smooth cops that are just a little bit on the criminal side as well (because things in life are never black or white), all while rocking some seriously fabulous flared pants.
The opening of ‘The Heat’ even reminds me a little bit of a Nina Kraviz track (‘Aus’) but then again I’m insane today.
‘Smoking Pixels’ is a bit of a Western interlude but in a cowboys-and-aliens-meet-the-city kind of way.
And I can’t stop picturing the video for ‘Platoon’ every time I listen to it.
Having in mind that Jungle is more of a collective of people and their ideas rather than just a duo of two anonymous dudes, then their videos’ art direction illustrates that notion perfectly and the whole anonymity thing makes sense.
Be it the mad 6-year-old B-girl Terra or the skate moves of the High Rollaz UK crew or your uncles sweating it out in a northern soul reminiscent gym or the crew of Adidas-clad characters, too busy dancin’ while you’re too busy earnin’… it’s all Jungle.
And by now you should know what the sound of that is – yes, fucking cool.
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