Jungle Loving In Stereo

AWAL

7.5

Jungle

Loving In Stereo

Disco’s having a moment right now. Fifty years since its birth, the once-maligned genre is finally receiving its overdue acceptance as a critically laudable creative vessel (for whatever the hell a critic’s praise is worth). Disco hate has always been steeped in bigoted, racist and homophobic undertones (well, overtones, too) but maybe the mainstream’s acceptance for the genre is finally encouraging artists to dive into the glitter and glam.

While Jungle, the London production duo of Tom McFarland and Josh Lloyd-Watson, have flirted with disco textures on their previous two releases, 2021’s Loving In Stereo is a full-on love affair under the radiating mirrorball. Group vocals, stirring string arrangements, propulsive bass licks and unbridled zeal adorn the release, celebrating the genre’s complex syncopations and rousing energy. McFarland and Lloyd-Watson tastefully curate the most exciting and enduring characteristics of disco and integrate them into approachable pop songs. They forgo most disco tracks’ lengthy time stamps and instead insert flashy features and psychedelic swirls.

At times, Jungle do their best Ashford and Simpson impressions, which usually results in sounding like a 21st century “Praise You,” certainly not a bad thing. Other times they emulate the campy Boney M. synth lines to glorious effect. They’re strongest when the songs are the most straightforward: “No Rules” has a staccato vocal burst and infectious, repetitive bassline; “All of the TIme” is their most four-on-the-floor track. It’s an expectedly groovy album, built around sassy melodies and pulsating rhythms, something we’ve come to anticipate in Jungle records. Here, the London duo give us more of their precisely-produced boogie, stuffed with samples and live instrumentation that correlates the genre’s analog roots to its resurrected present.

Retrospect is a powerful thing, and musical trends are cyclical. With the late-aughts and early ‘10s heavy in ‘80s aesthetic worship, it stands to some rough reasoning that the mainstream genre du jour is an overhauled, nu-disco-forward boogie (see: Dua Lipa, Jessie Ware, Bruno Mars, Roisin Murphy, etc.). Perhaps in our fresh-eyed, burgeoning socially conscious form we’re finally beginning to realize what we should have fifty years ago: disco slaps. It’s an inherently celebratory, vivacious, often sexy genre. And what do we need in the middle of unprecedented, existentially crushing times? A vital, unapologetically exuberant dance party that Jungle curates.

Order Loving In Stereo HERE