Jungle @ O2 ABC, Glasgow, 3 May
Jungle whet the appetite for their upcoming sophomore album with a showcase of old and new cuts shoulder to shoulder
Jungle have removed themselves from their studio confines in favour of an appetite-whetting tour for their upcoming sophomore album. The London soul outfit may record as a duo but for live performances their numbers balloon to a magnificent seven, which allows for the exhibition of their sound in the most organic, mammoth and infectious manner possible.
First though, Rae Morris booms life through the speakers with her bassy and bouncy set. Her electrified pop is brought to life even further by her relentless vitality, incessantly is she jumping, squatting, popping or spinning-a-twirl. Her voice climbs with tremendous ease, before apexing and plunging to a great depth. Her backing compadres supply a heavy dose of militant rhythms and galvanic beats that shines brightest on Rose Garden. The trio merge with a seamless might for this propulsive closing number, limbering the crowd up good and proper for the night’s entrée.
Despite appearing in flesh and bone on a stage before hundreds of revellers there is still an aura of mystery surrounding Jungle. Often cloaked by thick fog, silhouetted by intense backlighting or smothered by blankets of brilliant colour, their faces are seldom seen with definition. The effect of this is that instead of fixating on one spotlit lead stood centre stage, the focal point disperses, causing the audience to perceive the whole group as a singular entity.
The soulful septet are graced with the safety net of their debut album’s scorchingly successful material and although that the lion’s share of the set is taken from it, there are a great deal of fresh cuts to prove they have been busy makin'. Hot-out-the-forge starting number Smile is a 2.0 version of their past selves, received warmly with a grooving reception. As they transition into Julia, the crowd’s audible persistence in enthusiasm between new and old generates great hope for their much-anticipated follow-up.
With a focus on their latest wares, Happy Man is fit with an intoxicatingly cool groove that yields the power to set Scotland swaying with its funky falsetto – not a rear in the house is without a rudder. Casio’s slow tempo and subdued backing beat allow the group’s four-way harmonies to soar without strain. But it's House in L.A. that takes the accolade of good-God-holiest track of the eve. From its warping intro, we're absorbed with goose-chill limbs into Jungle's gloomy West-Coast noir. It's such an enveloping and colossal sonic experience that it takes the audience a moment to snap from awe to register its denouement.
Busy Earnin’ closes their set, but rapturous applause serenades the group back to the stage, with J saying, "'One more tune!' sounds so fucking sexy in a Scottish accent." Whether sarky or sincere is irrelevant, we radiate with flattery regardless. They call time on the eve with Time itself, a triumphant fanfare of a send-off that leaves us aghast at the fact their previous album still has such dominion over us. Their return is wholly welcomed by our hungry crowd, and tonight shows that there is a boat-floating volume of salivation for their forthcoming fruits.