With enough groove to rival a dusty Bee Gees vinyl and white funk to supersede Jamiroquai, it might come as a surprise that these British boys are only one album deep into their discography. Cloaked in anonymity until only recently, best buds J and T (Josh Lloyd-Wilson and Tom McFarland) have garnered quite the cult following with their smooth mix of junglist jams, electro funk, and soulful harmonies.
Punters plunged into the depths of OAF early to catch local opener Fishing. Warming the small stage with their chilled Sunday vibes, the Unearthed Sydney duo delighted the swelling crowd with psychedelic and synth-heavy songs from their debut album Shy Glow.
Only moments after 10pm, the venue quickly turned into a rowdy aviary as Jungle took to the stage with rainforest whistles, chirps and tweets. The haze slowly lifted to reveal an extended five-piece group cosily squished on the small stage.
Following a quick percussive intro, the group launched into their increasingly popular single The Heat. From first coo to last the crowd mimicked their electric energy, breaking only to take swift sips.
Hastily swapping instruments during the almost seamless interlude, the band kicked off their more somber single Lucky I Got What I Want. Steering slightly away from the repetitive loops of their album version, the group leaped into a slow-burning, triumphantly climatic rendition, leaving both Jungle and the crowd sponging the humidity from their faces.
A few deeper cuts from their debut self-titled album followed, including euphoric party starter Julia. “So, we’ve spent five days in Australia and this is the first time any of us have been here…and I gotta say, you guys have fucking got it sorted out man.”
Saving some of their best till last, Jungle brought home a brief but brilliant set with their biggest hits Time and Busy Earnin’, before surrendering to the crowd’s chants and returning on stage for an ecore of Platoon.
In such an intimate environment, Jungle’s catchy space-funk melodies made a leap from the seemingly synthetic recordings to an invigorating and explosive live performance.
So very familiar, yet completely distinct, their brief Australian winter tour has guaranteed them spots on a plethora of summer playlists. Don’t be surprised to see them in a few prominent places on this year’s Triple J’s Hottest 100.
Photos: Jungle – Sydney, Oxford Art Factory 30/07/14
Photos by Ashley Mar