For Ever, by Jungle
Suggested by Jamie Walsh
Thus far, the most populous musical genre that’s been up for review is Rock. I’ve ploughed through forty-six of those.
I guess the term Rock is a little woolly. Thin Lizzy are down as rock, but so are Tokyo Ska Paradise. Tool are down as rock, alongside Alanis Morissette and Spiritualized.
You’d likely guess the next genre would be Rap, but with nineteen albums on the list thus far, they’re a distant fourth, behind Pop with thirty-one and Metal with twenty-eight. Maybe it feels like more Rap albums because of all the words jammed into each track.
There are a host of other more esoteric categories. I’ve reviewed six Experimental albums, for example. Three Folk albums. Two Comedy albums.
For Ever, by Jungle, is the first Soul album on the list. Which is a shame, because I was really looking forward to reviewing a Jungle album. Because I’ve heard that Jungle is massive.
For Ever kicks off with some, well, jungle drumming. It’s pounding and rhythmic, and sets up the song to come with some funky basswork. The vocals seem to be a conglomerate concern, a cabal of high-pitched warblings that accent the musical narrative rather than shaping it. The second song, Heavy, California, is a more breathy affair, almost Sixties hippyism in execution, but it retains a summery sound.
In fact, that’s a fine descriptor for the album as a whole. It’s the sound of summer, a hot and sultry afternoon, punctuated by crisp but lazy dance drums and a haze of instrumental soul. It’s a happy sound too, with no guile or dark undercurrent.
The vocals are sweet and soft, but they present two issues. First, they regulate the scope of the album through their singular dimension. The don’t offer much opportunity to expand out of their admittedly mellifluous box. And second, they’re a little stupefying when consumed en masse. A few songs? Lovely. A whole album? Forgettable.
My favourite song on For Ever is Casio, which coincidentally has a more layered vocal performance. It’s a quirky affair, a little less predictable than the rest, and that is definitely appreciated. The other songs are all fine, especially Cherry and House in LA, but while they have soul they lack a little spirit.
For Ever gets a passable 6/10. As my first foray into soul, I suppose It’s pleasant enough, but after a funky start it displays little staying power outside a few gentle peaks and troughs.