THE JUNGLE GIANTS | QUIET FEROCITY (LP)
To find a title more apt for Brisbane indie rockers, The Jungle Giants’ third album Quiet Ferocity would be nigh impossible. The release is a different direction from not only their earlier extended releases, but the atmosphere provided from the initial singles. It oozes in a soft confidence, there’s no ego behind the ten track release, rather a full acceptance of not only who the band are, but what they have become. The Jungle Giants have an image in their minds, and this is the album to show it.
Despite being drenched in the experimental sounds of synths, an expansion on the fiddling that could be heard on Speakerzoid there is an organic feeling across Quiet Ferocity. Sam Hales plays less into the genre with his vocals, delivering a more restrained performance. There is a sense of balance and expansion across the album that differentiates it from what we have heard prior. Album opener On Your Way Down takes the trademark razzle of the band’s history and plates it up in a more impressive manner. You get phases that sound like they could have been cut straight from Learn to Exist or Speakerzoid, particularly in regards to the guitar work, then these subtle hints of a newer, more mature sound. The use of a cowbell pacing through the piece is hard to notice at first but is more impressive than the drum patterns we are so used to. When juxtaposed against following track Feel the Way I Do, the single that easily caught the ear of every The Jungle Giants fan new or old, you can easily spot how they have grown. It’s not just that they are better lyricists (as evident in Feel the Way I Do) or that they can play with new sounds, it’s that they have re-shuffled both decks of talents in a manner that doesn’t sound unbalanced. Throughout the entirety of Quiet Ferocity we see snippets of new and old splashed together to create something special. It taps into that bric-a-brac element of modernism, they take sounds and styles that we know to create something that is not only new, but more exciting.
In regards to highlights of the album, it’s hard to go past Time and Time Again and Bad Dream. Both there tracks make the best of the shimmery gown that The Jungle Giants have dressed this release in. They tease heartbreak and disappointment in a manner that gets you moving be it as you send that risky text, or on the morning after. Bad Dream touches the longing that is so constantly faced, and that desire to settle. It’s less a plea for something permanent, as a craving for a single thing to work. And who hasn’t felt that at least once before? This sits perfectly alongside Time and Time Again, a reminder of the way that things just never quite working out, of the missed opportunities that just keep flying past. This it seems is the essence of the album. It’s not about heartbreak in the cliché sense, nor is it a general longing so much. It’s an album that is full of those moments of moving away from love and it expands beyond the romantic sense. The Jungle Giants have taken a more holistic approach in the album, both in sound and themes.
So far from what we’ve ever heard from the band in the past is In the Garage, in fact, it took more than a few listens to realise not only how different it is, but how significant it is. At over five minutes in length with no real vocals it’s a spacey jam, often with some cosmic vibes. It sounds another planet to what we expect from the usually rather poppy act and it’s refreshing. As those nearly haunting ethereal synth lines waver over the top of the repetitive structure of the piece you feel further down a rave cave than anything else. The whispers of conversation in the background of the piece give it an experience of disassociation, tying it in with the rest of the album. For while there may be no verses or lines to tie it into the themes found throughout Quiet Ferocity the sounds and styling create a similar atmosphere to that detailed by Hales’ lyrics.
It can only be said, that Quiet Ferocity doesn’t only deserve praise as being the best Jungle Giants album to date, but possibly one of the best releases of the year. It’s different, it’s challenging, but it is rewarding for both. It contains the perfect balance of dance worthy hits and songs to curl up to after a night of poor decisions and realisations. With every listen a new element stands out, and where their two albums suffered in the need to create memories around their tracks, the material on Quiet Ferocity taps into an inner bank of emotions and encourages the release in a number of ways. It’s an album that could easily become timeless, and is an impressive step for the band. It would have been so easy for them to have stuck to the indie rock tracks that have done so well for them, but they have managed to grow so much more than that, all while maintaining the identity that we’ve fallen in love with over the years.
You can catch The Jungle Giants live over August and September with dates for people of all ages found below. The real mystery is if In the Garage will make an appearance.
Friday, August 18th | The Triffid, Brisbane (all ages)
Saturday, August 19th | Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay (18+)
Friday, August 25th | Enmore Theatre, Sydney (all ages)
Saturday, August 26th | The Croxton, Melbourne (18-)
Saturday, August 26th | The Croxton, Melbourne (18+)
Friday, September 1st | The Gov, Adelaide (all ages)
Saturday, September 2nd | Perth (18+)
Tallest kid at every gig // Questionable dancer at best // twitter/instagram: ayds_on_toast