Jungle – For Ever – 14th September 2018
The release of Jungle’s Self-Titled LP in 2014 brought a fresh sound to music. The Londoners introduced new sounds that were bold and gut punching, layered with a level of distinct rawness to embed each sound with a purpose. Whether it was the slick swaggering bass, soulful falsettos or the tingles of dangling empty bottles, Jungle had created something unique, concocting together soul, psychedelia and 70’s funk, creating a raw and untapped “Jungle” sound.
For Ever as a project has tested their musical boundaries taking us on a journey in sound with the growth of not only their the collective (with the introduction of new member Zangi) but also the struggle to create the sophomore record. In 2014, Jungle said ,“[They ] like the idea of going home, going back to the bedroom and starting again with it, rather than flying off to LA or New York”. In For Ever, this sentiment is reflected and we see a stark conflict with the American Dream.
The band departed the Hollywood Hills to create the follow up LP, following J & T’s departure from London’s Shepards Bush, explaining that the goal of the album was to create a sound mimicking a “post-apocalyptic radio station playing breakup songs.” Pre released track, ‘Happy Man’, resonates disenchantment with the American Dream with lyrics echoing ‘buy yourself a dream, how is it looking, buy yourself a car it don’t mean nothing’, all the while drenched in faultless falsetto harmonies, driven by a hallmark mid-tempo bass searing with a scorching intensity, allowing the lyrics to simmer below a slick sun-kissed veneer.
Beat Song 54 hits like a 70’s poolside fantasy, as cool as a cocktail in the sun, the track is given a golden age glow with cinematic strings gliding in and out of the luscious bass line. The lyrics are able to pierce the rose tinted aesthetic of the musical body revealing a disillusioned relationship at it’s core: “What is truth, it’s all good now, when there’s nothing nothing nothing, that’s all you admire.”
Whilst For Ever lacks the string of continuity and momentum that gave their first record that flavour that left you wanting more, it makes up for it in experimentalism. ‘Cherry’, on initial listen, sounds like an odd choice for the album, but stands out with a resilience to it that fights off the sleepy mellowness of the track with quiet ferocity.
For Ever is a sprawling album dipping into different sounds and themes, but as a collection of songs it builds on Jungle’s previous catalogue of work in a different headspace. Heavily introspective, and highly addictive.