When Jungle made their arrival under a cloud of mystery amid a hidden identity, they accidentally became one of the most talked-about bands in Britain. Nobody knew who they were, and their self-titled debut album asserted the group critic’s favourite.
Four years later, the album was followed up with For Ever in 2018, a project in which they second-guessed themselves, and although it has its glittering moments, overall, the full breadths of their extensive talent weren’t audible. Thankfully, Loving In Stereo is the sound of a duo rejuvenated, and you wouldn’t think for a moment that we’ve been stuck in a global pandemic judging by the euphoric tones on display throughout the album. Furthermore, for the first time in their career, Jungle’s Tom McFarland and Josh Lloyd Watson have embraced collaboration, giving the new album another dynamic edge. Bas brings a slice of New York to ‘Romeo’, and Priya Ragu adds some pizazz to the penultimate track, ‘Goodbye My Love’.
Loving In Stereo is Jungle freeing themselves of the shackles and letting their unhinged creativity drive the album. They’ve learnt from the mistakes they made from For Ever. They are a group who have liberated themselves on their third outing, which acts as a lavish spirit-lifting affair full of sensual groove.
The instrumental opening track, ‘Dry Your Tears’, works as an intro for ‘Keep Moving’, which gets the carnival atmosphere underway. The energy levels spiral into euphoria even further from that moment, and it’s impossible not to get lost in the music.
‘Fire’ sees Jungle express their jazz fusion credentials and the duo implement their ferocious love of world music. It’s a sizzling way to break up the album in the middle. The instrumental acts as a transfixing interlude before Loving In Stereo bleeds into the vehemently groovy ‘Let’s Talk About It’.
‘No Rules’ descends events into an even more frenzied state of elation as the party rolls into full flow. After a sprinkling more of exhilaration, Jungle then dims the lights with ‘Just Fly Don’t Worry’. The track brings the vivacity levels down as the bell rings at the bar for last orders. Meanwhile, Priya Ragu’s adds her heavenly touch to the slow-dance ready ‘Goodbye My Love’ on the penultimate track.
The night draws to a close to the sound of ‘Can’t Stop The Stars’, a disco number that is a fitting way to bring the exuberant proceedings to an elegant end. There’s something enchantingly cinematic about Loving In Stereo, which is captured in the final track, and it’s an audio experience that deserves to be listened to in its entirety.
While there isn’t a single stand-out piece of lyricism on the entire album, it doesn’t matter because Jungle doesn’t need words to convey everything they need to say. Their masterful production is thrilling throughout, and it oozes jubilation. “It’s a joyful record, it’s energetic, it’s positive, and it’s affirming. It’s sort of everything that we’ve always wanted to make,” singer Tom McFarland told Far Out earlier this year, and Loving In Stereo has lived up to his lofty billing.
Loving In Stereo feels like an album that Jungle have been striving towards since their incarnation. However, it’s only now that they’ve got the necessary guile, nous, and wherewithal in place to pull it off with conviction. After a slight misstep with their sophomore album, Jungle have proved themselves as bonafide celestial talents on Loving In Stereo, which is an ode to love, dancing, and a celebration of the intricacies of life that make it beguiling.
Loving In Stereo arrives on August 13th through Caiola Records in association with AWAL.