ALBUM REVIEW: Jungle Giants – ‘Love Signs’


Words Kate Lockyer {Kate Lockyer Music}


Brisbane-bred band The Jungle Giants have redefined their style with the release of their fourth album ‘Love Signs’ on July 23. Moving away from their original indie rock brand to a fresh sound awash with fuzzy synths, the band has remade themselves as Australia’s newest indie pop darlings. If the first single they released from the album is anything to go by,  ‘Love Signs’ is shaping up to be a successful one, with their 2019 single Heavy Hearted going ARIA-certified Platinum and winning the fiercely competitive Queensland Music Awards “2020 Song of the Year”.

The title track of the album, Love Signs, is a groovy start, kicking off with a retro-sounding telephone ringtone before bringing in brassy synth and a bouncy electric guitar line. Lead singer Sam Hales explains that the song is “about these little messages we send each other, love signs.” It’s a tribute to modern-day love and the way that we express it through tags, tweets and messages in our digital world – in the first verse he sings “You’ve been beaming out, baby, all night long / Leaving all those messages on my phone”. The chorus is aglow with gentle falsetto, as Hales serenades us, and the end of the song features a very smooth Matt Corby-esque moment from Hales as his deep, tremulous voice travels from the end of “love signs… oh, whoah, whoah, oh, ahhh” and doubles down into a repeated chorus.


The voice of Hales’ girlfriend Grace (who is actually Janet Planet from Confidence Man), features in the flirty banter of Treat You Right, infectiously bubbly and playful. “Hey boy, what you gonna do with all that love of yours? / I’m gonna treat you right / You wanna dance all night? / Well then baby alright, as you like”. The song can’t fail to make you giggle and boogie along.

Cool and funky, Jungle Giants fans have undoubtedly already bopped along to In Her Eyes, released as a single earlier this year. With a buzzy bassline and a melodic hook guaranteed to stick in your head as any unrelenting dance hit should, the tune shows off Hales’ undeniable musical genius. “She’s got love in her eyes / and I’ve got love in my heart” he sings, as the chorus launches all manner of quirky synth tones.


Sending Me Ur Loving is another of The Jungle Giants’ previously released singles, so we’re all already aware that it’s a certified banger, yes? If you’re somehow still unconvinced, let me point to the boisterous guitar, spangly synth, searing falsetto, and bassline created from – get this, maybe the most Australian thing you’ve heard – thongs slapped against tubes made specially by Hales. The song is also uplifted by its feel-good lyrics – “You must be sending me your loving / Oh cause I feel it all over / There’s nothing left to say / Oh you’re my four-leaf clover”. Hales says of the song that “It’s an ode to a feeling of self-confidence, and essentially a love ditty at the same time”.


Heartless begins with a spiralling combo of percussion and electronic sounds, really accentuating the Giants’ new dance sound, increasingly distinct from the pop and rock timbres of their previous work. The overlaid vocals in the second chorus add to the lush, modern sound of the track, piling up the richness of Hales’ lower range with the tingly vibrato of his falsetto.

The next track, Charge My Phone, begins with a casual voice memo of Hales and his gf in a café, singing the riff that would feature as the central pull of the song. Hales says that “It kind of embodies what a lot of the album is about: quiet moments between two people who love each other.” A fun, catchy track, the lyrics are a tongue-in-cheek observation of how our tech is intertwined with our relationships, with Hales singing “Hey, don’t you know? You’ll never be alone / You could take a picture girl, but it won’t last as long / Take it day by day, anything you say / We could start a life together once I charge my phone”.

Heavy Hearted starts off soulful and stripped back, with a teasing “Oooh” from Hales before he asks for his lover to remember any of the things they might love about him – “Have I ever made you smile? / Oh, for even just a while? / Did I play or did I tease? / Oh, let me know”. In the chorus, his leaps in range from low to high duet with emphatic synth to create a whirlpool of high energy music perfect for a night of revelry.


Here I Come also has major dance vibes. Sharp-edged synth shooting down like a bright neon laser, paired with trance-inducing backing vocals that hit right in that sweet spot on the beat, create a polyphonic paradise that we can sink into as we enjoy Hales’ voice  settling on top.

The sound of people laughing and chatting away begins Something Got Between Us, and while a closer look of the lyrics reveals that someone is in pain, its atmosphere is still hopeful. A crowd of people call out “Hey, never gonna let you go, not this time”, and Hales’ voice has a determined edge to it. As the ambient sound of voices echoes throughout the song, it makes me think that he wanted to remind us that there are always people there for us.

Monstertruck is a quirky track, about devotion and… monstertrucks? Particularly, his girl’s monstertruck, where nothing can touch them – “In your monster truck, I know how I feel / I’d do /  Anything for you”. Light-hearted and enthusiastic, it’s the perfect finish to the album.

Listen to/Purchase The Jungle Giants’ new album HERE!

‘Love Signs’ was created largely by frontman Hales, who has stepped up from songwriter to also take on producing and arranging the album, but performances, we are reassured, are still a product of the whole band’s love for each other and their music. The Jungle Giants will be kicking off their album tour in September, so grab your tickets below!

THE JUNGLE GIANTS ‘LOVE SIGNS’ TOUR

TICKETS

Fri 3 Sept – The Goods Shed, Hobart 
Sat 4 Sept – Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne (lic/aa)
Fri 10 Sept – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide (lic/aa)
Sat 11 Sept – Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle
Sat 18 Sept – Riverstage, Brisbane (lic/aa)
Fri 24 Sept – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney (lic/aa)



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With thanks to Positive Feedback

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