INDIE ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Whenever you see UK label XL Recordings attached to an album, you tend to prick your ears up. It only releases six albums a year on average, but with the likes of King Krule, the xx and Dizzee Rascal under its wing, XL has a heavy hand on the British scene. Its latest project, garage-soul group Jungle, is a chip straight off the London block.
With an unmistakably UK sound reminiscent of the early ’80s, the album performs a delicate ballet between quotation and originality. The opening tracks, ‘The Heat’, ‘Accelerate’ and ‘Busy Earnin’’, showcase a tapestry of synths, held together by tight-knit progressions and falsetto that sets the sonic palette for the album. ‘Busy Earnin’’ blasts you with a dazzling splay of horns, all fanfare and Don Cheadle braggadocio. It’s exhilarating, but nothing new.
It’s what happens after the hefty openers that exposes Jungle’s true ability: the album moves with cinematic propulsion through a kaleidoscope of musical ideas and influences, everything from Jamiroquai to Seattle grunge. Cuts like ‘Smoking Pixels’ and ‘Crumbler’ are rich and complex, miles away from the roller disco beginnings.
Jungle is an easy and well-constructed album that explores a healthy blend of synth and soul to the full. Keep it in your back pocket for summer.