We gagged a little when the hype beast belched up Jungle at the start of the year. They seemed a bit of a joke. First, there was that name: both trendily ungooglable (like Hockey or Peace) and cocky enough to assume parity with wild vegetation or ’90s drum ’n’ bass. How dare they?
Next was their hackneyed ‘mystique’. Despite weighty buzz and promising singles, all we knew about Jungle was their logo, their hyper-styled press shots (of other people), and that the duo went by the initials J and T, like high court plaintiffs. Boy were we were wrong. After a smoking Glastonbury show comes this stunning and substantial debut LP that’s one of the sweetest and coolest takes on pop in ages.
The elevator pitch is that they’re an amalgam of every great white funk band. A backhanded compliment? Not at all – imagine Happy Mondays’ baggy stomp, the avant bits of Talking Heads, Steely Dan’s studio perfectionism and the Bee Gees’ falsetto, and you’re very warm indeed. Even when the mood is more afterparty than dancefloor, (‘Platoon’), it’s explosive and euphoric. From the space fanfare of summer anthem ‘Busy Earnin’ to the mesmerising soul of ‘Lucky I Got What I Want’, Jungle have done what Disclosure did so well last year – make electronic music with human heart, marry underground cool with main-stage appeal, and do it with vision and conviction.
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Listen to 'Jungle' on Spotify