tue 18/01/2022

Album: Jungle - Loving in Stereo | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Jungle - Loving in Stereo

Album: Jungle - Loving in Stereo

Britain's biggest funk/soul band up their ambition further on third album

The UK is currently in the middle of a jazz, funk and soul renaissance.

Homegrown, grassroots talent is producing an abundance of glorious music both retro and forward facing, in a way not seen since the combined influence of Soul II Soul and the acid jazz scene created a wave of groove in the early-mid Nineties. A lot of it has a powerful contemporary political edge too, taking cues from Black Lives Matter and incendiary Stateside releases by D’Angelo and Solange in the last decade – from SAULT to Shabaka Hutchings, Jorja Smith to Joel Culpepper, this is music with heart, brains and something to say. 

Almost certainly the biggest British act in this sphere right now, though, is led by two public schoolboys from West London. With a billion streams, two Top 10 albums, 750,000 album sales and a Mercury Prize nomination – not to mention popping up on every other TV trailer and video game – it’s pretty clear that Jungle’s breakthrough single “Busy Earnin’” was a powerful statement of intent. Their sound is built on a backbone of lavish Seventies disco and psychedelic soul – lots of Rotary Connection, lots of Chic, a little Stevie Wonder, the sound that also powered Jessie Ware’s brilliant What’s Your Pleasure album – with a bit of yacht rock smoothness for good measure. The original records that inspired this are a sound that has become extremely ingrained in middle to upmarket British festival goers’ musical palettes over the past decade or so, by being the default sound of 75% of festival DJs from the biggest stage to the smallest food truck, and Jungle replicate it really well. 

On their third album, in fact, they do it better than ever. The soaring, celebratory massed choruses are underpinned by a grittier production that clearly shows they’ve been paying attention to the buzz around SAULT – fuzz bass, a little bit of ESG and Liquid Liquid, even some Krautrock is in the mix along with all the strings, brass and shiny harmonies – and once you add the feelgood slogans of “No Rules” or “Don’t Worry Just Fly”, it’s all precision engineered for huge festival moments. And it is good. Really good. Jungle are an excellent band and deserve their success: let’s just hope that some of the other incredible talent around with fewer connections and opportunities, but with more to say, can get “Busy Earnin’” to somewhere approaching this degree too.

@joemuggs

Hear "Talk About It":

Fuzz bass, a little bit of ESG and Liquid Liquid, even some Krautrock is in the mix along with all the strings, brass and shiny harmonies

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters