On ‘Cherry’, Jungle corrodes their own romanticism

London’s JUNGLE have been teasing a follow-up to their 2014 self-titled debut for some time now, having shared two tracks from the album back in May – ‘Happy Man’ and ‘House in LA’. Today, they’ve properly announced their forthcoming sophomore record, For Ever, which will be out September 14th via XL Recordings, by unveiling a further two singles: ‘Heavy, California’ and ‘Cherry’.

Where Jungle’s debut, born in London bedrooms, was conceived as an escapist soundtrack to far-off locales they’d never been before, the follow-up chronicles the disillusionment of realising that the romanticised ideal of a place that you’ve built up in your head doesn’t comport with the reality of living there. Fittingly, ‘Heavy, California’, which lands second on the LP’s tracklisting, picks up largely where their debut left off, a dazzling, brass-laden disco cut saturated with Jungle’s trademark falsetto vocals and shimmering synths. But it’s the second track – ‘Cherry’ – that offers the most quietly exciting glimpse of where the band might go with their second album.

And it does so by dialling the tempo down, letting its sassy neo-soul refrain – “You’re never change me / I was already changing” – luxuriate in a sensual, slinky groove that’s complimented by surprising instrumental flourishes that bubble and modulate underneath the surface. The production, more experimental and expansive, comes courtesy of INFLO, who the band credit with to helping to push them outside their comfort zones. Appropriately, the production retains a lot of what made Jungle’s debut such an invigorating affair but corrodes it slightly, eating at the edges of Jungle’s music while we watch their romanticism disintegrate; the brass, once brilliant and vibrant, is rendered flat, deflated with a touch of distortion eroding its brilliance; JOSH LLOYD-WATSON and TOM MCFARLAND’s distinctive falsettos are now undercut with wilting melodies.

The band describe For Ever as a “post-apocalyptic radio station playing break-up songs”, and on ‘Cherry’ the corrosion of their own music is matched only by the disillusionment of a collapsing romanticism.

For Ever is out September 14th – you can pre-order it here.

WORDS BY KYLE FENSOM

IMAGE: Supplied

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