Friday, October 14, 2011

Album Review: Jungle Habits by Young Circles

Jungle Habits by Young Circles is a veritable profusion of electronica, ambient, glam folk, shoe gaze, psychedelia and some genre yet to be named - creating a chemical cocktail with trace elements of artists like Radiohead, the Flaming Lips, Damon Albarn, and Portishead. Every song has delicious morsels of sound to be consumed and while some of the songs bring those aforementioned stellar artists too mind too much, I never got the feeling that I am listening to a creative rip off as much as songs that are "inspired by"- and ultimately, much of Jungle Habits is stuck in my head.

"Devil" has a groove that would have Thom Yorke dancing up a storm with a thick free bass line and askew lyrics like "you sleep in mangers while I sleep with strangers" or "slip off your shoes while you burn down the building".  The song, like many on Jungle Habits have musical arcs full of breaks that take the songs on some rich departures of sound. "Summer Noose" is a short acoustic meets dark dream pop. "Love Hitch" (one of my favorite songs on the album) skips and hops like an old 78 record in a lonely haunted house with industrial sounds echoing in the background. It is like David Lynch meets a Church Gospel with a slight Moby vibe. The middle break sounds all disjointed while muted vocals echo "Watch the road the road now"- that paints the imagery of a car wreck about to happen. Touches like this are pure theater of the mind and work on a dark moody level, all the while sounding very cool. I mentioned Damon Albarn and he comes to mind on "Asthmatic" which has a beat that moves like a horses gallop. I love the breaks and melody during the vocals- "Dreaming of you... dreaming of you".

The most jammy progressive song on the album is "2012". It cranks  like a Royal Bangs or Muse song but is more quirky. The drums shine throughout this little pressure cooker. "Jangala"- a  kind of calypso induced exercise in repetition and foreign voices on top of voices creates a nerve wrangling cacophony of sound that, in the end, is too grating for my taste but I could see how it could be a real crowd pleaser live. The title track, "Jungle Habits" strays into electronica, meets, drum core, meets underground rap (sorta). "You. Me. Nothing" has stream of conscious style phrasings and explodes into walls of sound only to edge back down into those free form phrasings and the cool chorus "You. Me. You mean nothing... nothing to me"- grabbing you with it's own vocal groove only to explode again. This ebb and flow is so incredibly smart and dynamic. While Young Circles has created an album with mood inducing art house sensibilities, they gently slap you in the face on their final track with the surprisingly sweet and endearing "Changing" that wraps you in a lush blanket of Lennon-esque love hugs.

All and all, Jungle Habits creates some truly wonderful "blendo" rock art with enough avant garde touches to dazzle and keep you guessing. Apart from the effects, the twisted lyrics and mood bending arrangements there are rich melodies here. I look forward to Young Circles next sonic surprise.

Adler Bloom

Check out Jungle Habits by Young Circles here

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