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Jungle are set to crown their first full year as a band with an autumn UK tour. The band that confounded the music industry for so long are bringing their mysterious disco juggernaut to Manchester’s Ritz on 24th October.
After a slot supporting Californian sisters Haim as well as their own packed headline shows, Jungle were booked for Glastonbury. A deal with XL Recordings, home to Adele was signed and a debut album recorded. And all this before they’d released even a handful of singles. The band, whose identity was hidden until very recently, exploded last year with a tricky song entitled ‘Platoon’. ‘The Heat’’s jagged dance followed. Their music is flecked with disco, house, hip-hop and bassy funk, and a chase to find out more quickly ensued. But the band held everything back. We knew there were at least two members, J and T, but Jungle’s live shows and press shots featured many more.
Now, J and T have been unmasked as Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland. Onstage, Jungle grows to a bombastic seven-piece live band. The pair used to play in shoegazers Born Blonde and recently said that they “never had full control” over their old project. Lesson learned, the pair wanted total stewardship over Jungle. Firstly, they hid their identities to “let the music speak for itself”. In a recent interview Lloyd-Watson said “Although we do the music, I never ever wanted it to be about us.”
Sticking as rigidly to their ideals as possible, the path trodden by Jungle is different to that of their peers. Other new bands often find themselves bending to the industry’s demands, so far, Jungle are different. Their subversive attitude extends to their music too. Their videos, already notoriously fun, choreographed affairs – embody the strong visual aesthetic they want to create. Inspired by Gorillaz, they have described their debut album as both “a movie” and “a videogame”. Jungle seek to engage music fans in new and different ways, but their live show connects in the most old fashioned manner possible – by relying on live, accessible music and a band putting everything into their performance.
That’s what fans fortunate enough to snare a ticket for the Manchester Ritz show can expect. Smattered with the already popular singles, the euphoric bounce of ‘Busy Earnin’’ should be a particular highlight, Jungle’s set is as tightly crafted as everything else they do. And after nearly a year on the road, by October it promises to be better than ever.