Album Review: Jungle City – ‘Jungle City III’.
Reviewer: Craig Grant. Jungle City is a three piece Adelaide based band that released their third album, ‘Jungle City III’, at the end of 2016. This has come after the unsurprisingly titled, ‘Jungle City II’ and ‘Jungle City I’, but, thankfully, more thought has gone into the music than the naming of the albums. When the first album popped out in 2012, the opening track of, ‘Sex, drugs and I’m on the dole’, was a fairly punky tune that was more Half Man Half Biscuit than it was rock. However, late in that release the bands recording of, ‘High’, set the tone and the pace for the next two albums and took the band on a stoner / psychedelic / blues-rock path. The good news is that ‘Jungle City III’ is a belter of an album with nine tracks; all thrills and no fills. The album cover depicting the band has a feel of The Sword about it and reminds me of the, ‘Age of Winters’, probably through the colouring and the style rather than much else.
‘Sexwitch’, is the single released from this album and is also the name of the short tour that the band has on the go across Australia during February. First vibe you get from this is that they sound like The Well, or The Well Sound like Jungle City. It’s a blues rock feel infused with distortion and psychedelic sounds with a production style harks back to our old mates in Brimstone Coven with thick bass and far off vocals. It’s a strong song and a smart choice to pick out as a single but with this band its only one dimension of many.
If we drop the digital needle to, ‘Sun God’ the bass gets a spanking and the groove moves along like back in the day when Wolfmother were a band. Top groove, thick guitar and ponderous, wispy vocals. About three minutes in and it all turns to jam. You get the mental image of the three band members looking at each other, playing off the vibe and thinking this could just keep going. It cranks out for another four minutes with bass chasing guitar until we fade out. Great track for late night room spins.
If we go back through the album there are yet other dimensions to this band. ‘Mind Eraser’ could have come straight off the album, ‘Gods of the Earth’. Maybe not as meaty with only the one guitar but it’s a corker of a track and if you are in the stoner or blues rock spectrum then this might be a band for you. I’ve heard everything from Wishbone Ash to Crobot throughout this album and the more I listen the more I like what I hear and the more this album digs itself under your skin. Again with the track, ‘Cannibal’, it’s a straight up, washed out, blues-rock song. The production still tells you that it’s the same band but there is more to see here with Jungle City than what we are being offered on the first listen. This is probably the most complete track of the album and one to tune into if you want to get the vibe of the band.
If you look at the first two albums and then this one then there’s a maturity about the band that probably wasn’t in the music in the first release but was getting there in the second. If Jungle City can find a groove, stick to it and add some meat to the production then this is the album that should be their foundation. For all the hype of Crobot’s, ‘Welcome to Fat City’, we ended up with an album that was good but not great. With far less resource and hype, Jungle City have put together an album that wipes the psychedelic floor with the Crobot offer, remembering that the US went into meltdown with the Crobot album.
Jungle City III is well worth the time to dig it out. Give it a couple of plays before you make up your mind as it’s well worth the effort. ‘Cannibal’ and ‘Sun God’ are the stand outs but check it out.