Jungle - Loving in Stereo (Caiola Records)

Jungle – Loving in Stereo (Caiola Records)

After wallowing in the disappointment of life’s false promises (break-ups, Hollywood’s mirage) on their previous emotional record For Ever, London duo Jungle (Josh Lloyd Wilson and Tom McFarland) have evolved in their outlook in life; now embracing freedom. The concept of freedom begins with their decision to end their collaboration with XL Recordings and birth their own record label in Caiola Records. Thus allowing Wilson and McFarland to have complete control over their sound. Although knowing Jungle, they already have a wonderful executed distinctive and consistent character; from the joint vocal harmonies, their self-absent group choreographed dance music videos to their identical bible-imitating album covers.

Another thing that shows their journey into freedom is evident from the titles on the latest third record Loving In Stereo. In an interview Jungle show their passion for the album format as an expedition: “For me, making records, I like complete bodies of work. I can’t really work in the way [where it’s] just a song. It’s got to be a journey for me.” The album does just that, taking the listener through the various steps to enlightenment from “Dry Your Tears‘, to ‘Lifting You’ to ‘No Rules’ to ‘Just Fly, Don’t Worry’, with the track list showing its own uplifting narrative.

Loving in Stereo seems to take off from its predecessor, asking the emotionally drained protagonist to ‘Dry Your Tears’. A beautiful interlude that opens the album with vulnerable strings swaying over the top of atmosphere background noise. As is the case with Jungle albums, tracks blend into each other with smooth elegance and before we know it we are at the energy- boosting ‘Keep Moving’. A track that feels timely when being released in March 2021, because it can’t help but sound like a motivational anthem for getting through the hardships of a pandemic. The lyrics themselves are a continuation from the autobiographical story on the last album For Ever, where he now thanks the girl for ending their relationship: “Ah you’re breaking my heart, thanks for making me stronger” and references his return to his homeland after leaving his house in L.A with the line “in a new house in the UK”.

Succeeding track ‘All Of The Time’ has a wonderful The Avalanches feel about it with its beautifully entangled layers of fuzzy retro and clear modern sounds. It sounds like they’ve borrowed a sample from a clapping gospel blues song from 1950’s-era Louisiana and given it a future garage makeover. In reality Jungle wanted it to sound that way, enjoying the idea that new productions can be made to sound old. The track is about positively growing one’s spirituality, which is promoted with its euphoric nature. The album overall feels like a comfort blanket for the troubled with Jungle regularly offering reassurance. The breakbeat-meets-Madchester ‘Talk About It’ is perhaps the best example of this, as the protagonist of the song offers a listening ear when singing: “The highs and lows, I will always be there.”

One of the key things that expresses Jungle’s approach to new found freedom is their music choices. There’s a lot of firsts. ‘Romeo’ is not only the first time that Jungle has gone deep into hip-hop territory, it’s one of their only songs to feature a guest vocalist. This features Paris-born American rapper Bas. While Swiss-Tamil singer Priya Ragu adds her vocals in the dreamy soul song ‘Goodbye My Love’.  ‘Bonnie Hill’, which refers to a place in Los Angeles during the time when Jungle were living there, sees the duo introduce instrumental solos for the first time, starting with the jazz flute, followed by a saxophone’s time in the spotlight.

However, ‘Fire’ demonstrates Jungle’s most evolutionary production, a Flaming Lips-esque psychedelic experiment with an almost Vincent-Price-‘Thriller’ speech. Jungle’s Josh Lloyd-Wilson described it as sounding like a car chase. ‘No Rules’, sounding like Tame Impala creating a soundtrack to a 1970s Blaxploitation flick – follows in the same free-spirited nature. ‘Truth’ is also just as unorthodox, sounding Django Django covering The Dandy Warhols – it features an aquatic and stardust production that’s apparent through the new record.

With shops reopening in the UK after a series of pandemic-induced lockdowns, the concept of freedom in Jungle’s ‘Loving In Stereo’ is wonderfully felicitous, but so is their approach to music; maintaining their identity but embracing their impulsive and bohemian side.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.