Jungle - S/T - LP
Based around a core musical duo known simply as ‘J’ and ‘T’, who expand to a thrilling seven-piece live band, Jungle make mesmeric, modern soul with true global appeal. Combining what The Guardian notes as “tribal in terms of rhythm but postpunk in sensibility” and Brooklyn Vegan proclaiming “a real vintageness, recalling the period of funk and soul just as those genres started transitioning into disco,” Jungle has quickly perked the curiosity of media across the globe.
With an intriguing online debut last year through a set of clever music videos for singles “Platoon” (featuring B-Girl Terra) and “The Heat” (starring High Rollarz), the two clips have combined views of nearly 7 million.
“The band’s specialty is sleek mid-tempo 1970s-style funk, with scrubbing rhythm guitar and a steady, understated, in-the-pocket backbeat behind grooves that reveal the workings of their interlocking riffs. Minor chords lent the songs a serious air; the presumed T and J and a woman all sang together, with short phrases reminiscent of disco-era Bee Gees.” - The New York TimesThere is no blueprint to Jungle’s irresistible, life-enhancing, report-to-the-dancefloor sound but there are many ingredients. It’s P-Funk and ‘Grand Theft Auto’, it’s Curtis Mayfield and ‘Tron’, it’s the Beach Boys and Joy Division and Marvin Gaye and Can, all cut up and refracted in a London neighbourhood where anything can happen.
Those with long memories might detect a resurrection of A Certain Ratio or Chakk’s fractured funk here. But for most of Jungle’s growing and increasingly fanatical crowd it’s not about the history. It’s about a remedy for overstuffed pop and bloated stadium house and dull social realist rock. It’s about getting back to the groove.
And behind the rising buzz – the BBC Sound of 2014 nomination, the 6.5 million-plus plays of the ‘Platoon’ video, the US tour that sold out on the back of their SXSW appearance before Jungle even had an official record out in America – it’s a DIY story. Working from their home studio in Shepherd’s Bush, the core Jungle duo known only as J and T set out their store long before they came on any label’s radar with a brace handmade mini-classics. A couple of singles – ‘The Heat’, a supple 4am soul snap, the ice-cold search-and-destroy beats of ‘Platoon’ – connected 2014 and 1974, London with Rio and New York, the feet with the unconscious mind. Adding to the buzz and mystique were game-changing videos, made by the band and their mates, featuring skaters The High Rollaz and a stunning 6-year old breakdancer called Terra.
They racked up major views on YouTube and spread the word far beyond the music hardcore that here was something different. Inscrutable press photos compounded the intrigue, suggesting that there might be two people in Jungle or there might be thirty. Who could tell? Like their sonic ancestors Public Enemy or The Art Of Noise, Jungle were a delicious riddle, an enigma with attitude. We can reveal that J and T are a pair of sound obsessives called Josh and Tom, sharp and meticulous West Londoners who each play “pretty much everything” and tend to finish each other’s sentences too. “The initials weren’t a big deal, they’re just our nicknames,” explains T. “We weren’t trying to hide ourselves, but we didn’t want the whole thing to be about us. We wanted it to be about at the music.”