Learning to Exist

By Steph Eslake

The Jungle Giants have stampeded onto the music scene with the release of their debut album Learn to Exist.

The Melbourne based Indie-pop group have successfully captured and disseminated the hyper energy of youth through their new release. The four-piece band fronted by Sam Hales provides a welcome interruption from the popular craze of electronic music, relieving the ear with natural instrumental textures and imperfect vocals.

Setting a delightful precedent for the tracks to come, ‘Come and be Alone with Me’ opens the album with bright harmonies and the unmistakable feeling of summer. The end of each word drags until it blends into the next, and the constant lingering provides space to fully appreciate Sam’s vocal expression. Possessing a rich and zealous tone that confidently glides between notes, it is entirely possible that Sam is the love child of Franz Ferdinand front man Alex Kapranos – but let’s keep it on the low-down until the DNA tests are confirmed.

Each song on Learn to Exist reaches a glorious climax that allows the listener to immerse themselves in full instrumental textures, rather than be forced to engage with a constant flow of lyrics. This is particularly evident in the relaxed ‘Truth may Hurt’ – though, in the vein of honesty, it is necessary to admit the unfortunately high level of repetition within each song. In fact, the entire album is extremely limited when it comes to variety of style or mood, but listening can be justified by its contagiously uplifting spirit.

‘Devil’s in the Detail’ is the album’s most stylistically contrasting track, and is comparable with the Cold War Kids’ use of subtle folk-blues influences. The emptiness of the solo guitar accompanied by a woozy vocal is reminiscent of century-old African-American improvised folk tunes and compromises the album’s momentum. ‘Skin and Bone’ quickly returns to the fast pace that was initially established.

Learn to Exist is enjoyable, and the debut album is likely to reward The Jungle Giants with many fans. While their music is deserving of popularity, it will hopefully develop into a style that remains their own but does not require such extreme repetition in order to be identifiable.

This review was featured in Aphra Magazine September 2013.

(image sourced aphra magazine)

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