Words By: Tim Mead
It wasn’t too long ago Brisbane indie rock kids The Jungle Giants played a sold out Australian tour in support of their single, Every Kind of Way, and they’re already coming back to tour their brand new album which they dropped Australia wide on Friday.
At it’s outset the album literally asks the question “what is a Speakerzoid”, and after a few listens the entire way through, I’m still not sure of the answer. This album see’s the band’s progression into experimental waters, while the tracks are still marked with their indie pop rock sensibility.
The album begins with Every Kind of Way, which has been smashed by Triple J in recent weeks, and sets the tone very differently from their previous releases. Channeling vibes of the Cure, and with spoken word verses, this track promises the album will challenge our expectations. Devils Play continues this notion, with similar samples and a direction towards experimental synth parts.
Then the album kicks into gear with the latest single Kooky Eyes. I feel like this track is more reflective of the overall vibe of the album, with verses that rely on simple catchy distorted riffs, contrasting to bigger more up beat choruses, the whole time Sam’s voice soars above with clever melodies. The chorus reminds me of most of the tracks from their earlier album Learn to Exist. It is definitely more similar to the idea people might have of what to expect from the album.
From this point, the album falls more in line with what we have learnt to expect traditionally from the band. Tracks like What Do You Think, Together We Can Work Together and Creepy Cool showcase the production on this album. A highlight is the really tight drum sound and thoughtfully constructed layered elements to songs including numerous backup vocal lines which hauntingly repeat phrases to flesh out the build ups and dynamic shifts.
One track that diverges sonically from the album is Mexico. This song reminds me of early Kooks, its acoustic and quite whimsical, and it becomes a turning point in the album with climbing harmonies, and not overstaying its welcome..
Along with Devils Play, another track which I thought was congruent with the vibe of Every Kind of way was Not Bad. Soaring vocals displaying sam’s range with a laid back beat and grooving bass riffs pushing this track along. the soundscape grows as the song continues to build adding different elements and samples eventually resulting in a quasi breakdown descending into dissonant chords tapering off while repeating the phrase “not bad”
Five of the tracks from the album are streaming on Spotify, but with the release currently limited to Australia, it is impossible to find a stream of the whole album anywhere. I would say it’s definitely worth the buy, but don’t expect a replication of the band’s previous hits. Its clear they were trying to diversify and expand with this album, and although I would have been interested to hear a whole album more similar to Every Kind of Way, I think they’ve produced a coherent solid release.