Back in 2013 they appeared as an almost anonymous collective spearheaded by the mysterious ‘J’ and ‘T’ and wowed us all with some euphoric dry ice filled backlit shows, captivating videos that made dance routines cool again and a series of heady neo-soul pop singles. The album that followed didn’t disappoint either and ended up on the Mercury Prize list.
Now they’re back, with not one but two new songs which they’ve been playing out on a recent live tour, which I caught last night as it rolled into Brighton. Interestingly this tour missed out London, almost as if the band want to take the new songs to their fans first rather than come under too much spotlight from the press.
Of the two new tracks released today Happy Man provides little surprise. It’s very much more of the same – even the lyrical themes are close to Busy Earnin’ exploring the ideas of younger people not being able to aspire to what Baby Boomers had (which seems very topical given today’s Resolution Foundation proposal to give millennials £10,000 each) "Buy yourself a dream, how's it looking? Buy yourself a car and a house to live in. Get yourself a girl, someone different. Buy yourself a dream it won't mean nothing." For me this lack of progression seems a little disappointing; it feels like the band are playing safe, albeit it's still a strong tune. (You can hear that song on Spotify by clicking here).
House In LA is much more intriguing. Rather like a number of the new songs they played last night in Brighton it’s slower than much of their first album and whilst it still contains the trademark Jungle falsetto vocals it’s less funky, more cinematically downbeat and slow-mo. T and J have described the album as "a post-apocalyptic radio station playing break up songs,” and this one certainly sounds more like that than Happy Man. It may not be as obviously commercial as something like Busy Earnin’ or The Heat but it provides the possibility of an album that could go deeper than the first and that has to be better than just volume 2 of the same old same old?
Jungle - House In LA (Video)