Jungle, Volcano review: Playful, super-cool and the hippest album of 2023

5/5 - (10 votes)

Jungle’s third album, “Volcano,” has been receiving critical acclaim and has been shortlisted for the Mercury Prize. The music videos for the album’s advance singles feature the duo in a Seventies-style office, surrounded by vintage technology. Their collaborators, including Roots Manuva, Erick the Architect, and Channel Tres, appear on screens throughout the videos. The album itself is a mix of funk, soul, and electronic music.

The album kicks off with the bass-heavy track “Us Against the World” and ends with the harmonious “Pretty Little Things.” Jungle’s members, Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland, have stepped back from their singing roles and are now focusing on curating their music behind the scenes. This change has allowed them to create a more relaxed and playful album, with stylishly engineered music that encourages listeners to let loose and dance.

The album flows seamlessly from one track to another, with cleverly crafted details blended into the mix. Lydia Kitto’s lead vocals and flute melodies add a giddy and flexible element to the album. Her passionate declarations on “Us Against the World” showcase her range, while her collaboration with Erick the Architect on “Candle Flame” creates a captivating contrast. Smooth-talking Channel Tres invites Kitto to join him in his Tesla on the reggae-infused track “I’ve Been in Love.” Each song offers a unique flavor and atmosphere, from the beach-bossa vibes of “Back on 74” to the funky dreaminess of “Coming Back.”

The album’s production has a distinct analogue texture, with elements of bakelite, mahogany, coconut shells, and bougainvillea. The woodwind and percussion instruments add depth and richness to the tracks. Overall, “Volcano” is a standout release in 2023 and showcases Jungle’s ability to create infectious and groove-filled music.

“Volcano” will be released on August 11, and it promises to be a must-listen for fans of funk, soul, and electronic music. With its blend of retro sounds and modern production techniques, this album is sure to make a lasting impression. So put on your dancing shoes and get ready to groove to Jungle’s irresistible beats.

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