When Tom McFarland and Josh Lloyd-Watson burst onto the scene under the name Jungle in 2014, it seemed that the UK’s electronic scene had a new pioneer. A few years later, they returned with their second album For Ever, a slow, melancholic affair largely inspired by both members of the duo’s recent breakups. That was 2018. Now, in 2021, after the past eighteen months of lethargy, they are back with a powerful message.
Loving In Stereo (2021) is Jungle’s latest studio album, and is a punchy and vibrant collection of grooves dedicated to positivity. Gone is the mournful self-indulgence of For Ever, replaced with funky beats and a broader soundscape, with accompanying strings, choirs, and even guitars all adding to the blend of genres. While the album is still unmistakably Jungle, it is clear they are developing their sound through collaboration with other artists. Bas and Priya Ragu accentuate Jungle’s influences of hip-hop and soul respectively. And they have broadened their group into a mysterious collective of passionate musicians which likens them to up-and-coming group SAULT (whose producer Inflo worked with Jungle on this album).
Jungle’s passion for innovation and collaboration has extended beyond their music into their music videos – having produced one for each song on the album. The videos, set in an old fort in Dover, are each shot in one take. The choreography is above all else free and contemporary, and it’s inspiring to see Jungle showcasing some of the UK’s finest in physical theatre and cinematography – an industry which was hit exceptionally hard during the pandemic.
Besides continuing to drive innovation in their scene, and collaborating with other artists, Jungle’s latest album is chiefly important due to its message of positivity. The album was forecasted by singles Keep Moving and Talk About it. Both are upbeat dancehall records, embodying the therapeutic aspects of music whilst conveying a serious message about overcoming sadness and conflict in our relationships. Jungle have packed this record with upbeat tracks that are bound to get your foot tapping, and by the end of the record it is clear that Jungle have found their groove again and are moving forward beyond their personal struggles.
Positivity is in high demand in 2021, and Jungle have delivered just that in a package which not only comes complete with a remarkable and beautiful set of music videos but reaffirms the collective’s position as innovators in the UK music scene.