With pop needing a constant shake up, Jungle show the beauty that can come from a band full of brilliant minds. Like the glossy pop counterparts to Superorganism, the group offer constantly heavenly harmonies while bringing a depth to their sound that you’ll always hear a little more from. Though some moments are less original than others, they never let listeners down.
There’s a rushing but group-focused pop energy that makes the growing vocals and grooves of “Smile” become more and more infectious. As a thematic opening piece to the album it gets you moving and screaming without even changing things up that much. Jungle’s glossy update to their sound makes the funk of “Heavy, California” a joy to hear on every level, as the production elevates even the simplest parts of the verse. It’s the little touches in vocal mixing however that make so much of this record a wonder to hear. Jungle up the bass however on “Beat 54 (All Good Now)” as they contrast the depth with ethereal vocals. This switch up in the range of sounds, keeps the album fresh and lets Jungle really explore the possibilities of their large band.
The off-kilter rhythms of “Cherry” make for a sonic journey as much as it has a strong pop core. Jungle’s sense of sonic exploration and constant boundary pushing lets the song breathe as a true standout in pop. Though the progressions of “Happy Man” are certainly familiar, it’s easy to get lost in its brilliant washes of sound again and again. The band’s ability to sweep in so many brilliant tones just keeps you following on every note. While “Casio” is inherently playing with cheesy hooks and sounds, that’s part of their fun writing approach to the song. This makes for a track that really plays with convention and lets you just have fun listening.
“Mama Oh No” plays fast and loose with production and weird syncopation again and again. Though it may be one of the more testing listens initially, Jungle really create something unique on this song. The heavenly tones of “House In LA” flesh out the album’s sound to something grander and really mesmerizing. This said, the shift to a much slower pace and writing style makes it harder to sink into the song right away. Jungle bring in an electronic drive on “Give Over” while their inherent choral style become a tad monotonous by this point in the record. Hearing their washes of strings fall into the beats however is a magical experience and not to be missed.
As the samples transition into something louder on “Cosurmyne” the beats hit hard to make something punchy but bright. However even with the solo vocals floating around, the track often feels a little too light for its own good. “Home” on a similar note plays out like an interlude, as its ominous keys fly back and forth in the song’s open space. Serene and captivating this track keeps you transfixed without too many changes.
There’s an organic flow to the beats on “(More and More) It Ain’t Easy” and the pianos expand Jungles sound into a more spacey realm of pop. Though the track is simplistic in scope, there’s a real pop to every single percussive hit in the track. The theatricality and majesty of “Pray” hits hard and sees Jungle going above and beyond everything they bring to their album, and show a genus for arrangement that will make their next record shine.
Words by Owen Maxwell