When the falsetto vocals and funk infused sounds of Jungle came around four years ago, there were not many acts around like them. Their catchy and groove oriented sound made them favorites of anyone who heard them, while their live sets where something else entirely, making them a big deal all around the globe. This year, the duo-now a seven piece-returned with their latest masterpiece, For Ever. In thirteen songs they proved while it may have been a minute since they’d been in front of us, it was time worth taking.
Four years is a lifetime in some regards to many in the music industry, making many wonder if the success of the group’s debut caused them to take it slow on the follow-up. “I don’t think it was harder, it was great that the debut did so well. We’re artists, we wanna’ do better each time we release something. It wouldn’t be worth it if it wasn’t a challenge,” replies founding member T, also known as Tom McFarland.
The band has made a name for seventies funk intertwined with R&B smoothness of the early Motown years, though their influences are much deeper than that explains McFarland. “So much stuff, James Taylor, Crosby Stills and Nash, Beach Boys. As kids, we were into The Libertines, The Strokes, and of course J. Dilla who has some of that Motown groove to his sound.”
While Jungle’s debut took off, it took a bit of time to get to that point. When artists have high expectations of their work, it can often fall flat, though that wasn’t the case with Jungle. “We didn’t really have any expectations with the debut, maybe some blog in the U.K. may post about it was all would figured would happen. We’ve all been in projects that we thought would take off in the past, that didn’t. We’re all very humble in this band.
“We took play counts off of our Soundcloud page to get people to judge the music off of its merits, not the popularity of it. We know this can be short lived, and that we’re lucky for any success we’ve had. In music, arrogance gets you nowhere.”
The group’s new album is a bit darker than the debut, yet the music is the type that’s still upbeat and makes you want to get on the dance floor. “I think fundamentally, the music needed to reflect our lives from the past couple of years. We really wanted this record to be more sonic and cinematic in its approach.”
The new album definitely has a more cinematic feel, something that wasn’t achieved by J and T alone. “We used the producer Inslo and after meeting him in the Spring of 2017, he really gave us lots of clarity. He gave us perspective going into the project as well.”
While the themes of For Ever are dark, the upbeat nature of the songs made us wonder how difficult it is to marry the darkness with happy groove filled sounds. “I don’t think we think of it. The groove is part of our process. Every track may be emotional, but we’re optimistic people, that’s what we’re trying to convey. That behind any darkness, there’s a light on the other side.”
The group has always made quite the name for themselves as a live act worth seeing in person. For this tour, T let us in on what fans of the band should expect. “We’re playing lots of new songs, and we’re really happy with how the audiences have been reacting to them. We want the crowds to feel special, to get down, and to have a good time. The way the crowd reacts at our shows keeps us making music.”
You can stream Jungle’s music on all streaming platforms, you can purchase it from all digital store fronts, and you can purchase it directly from XL Recordings on multiple formats, including a very rare yellow vinyl. Jungle will be on tour well into next year. You can catch them tonight in Dallas at House of Blues, tomorrow in Houston at House of Blues, and this weekend in Austin both at Emo’s on October 11 and at ACL Fest October 12. A full list of the band’s tour dates can be accessed here.
Image Credits: Photo by Charlie DiPlacido.