It was in an old Parisian apartment that The Jungle Giants front man Sam Hales first found the inspiration to commence writing for the band’s second album, ‘Speakerzoid’. Having spent a significant portion of the preceding two years promoting and touring the band’s 2013 debut album ‘Learn To Exist’, Hales found himself with a small dose of wanderlust and a hankering for something new. Cue a makeshift studio in the 11th arrondissement and some significant down time and Hales found that ideas and sounds for album #2 began to emerge.
Having been a drummer for almost his entire life, Hales first picked up the guitar in 2007. The majority of ‘Learn To Exist’ was thrashed out on a guitar in Hales’ home studio in 2012 before being recorded with his bandmates by renowned producer Magoo. The result was an accomplished debut that fulfilled the promise of the band’s early EPs and secured The Jungle Giants place as one of Australia’s most entertaining and fun live bands.
For ‘Speakerzoid’, The Jungle Giants decided to push the envelope further. Along with band mates Cesira Aitken (guitar), Andrew Dooris (bass) and Keelan Bjiker (drums) Hales was intent on making what the band were determined would be a ‘bad ass’ record. To achieve this Hales experimented with different ways of writing and new pre-production techniques.
The result is an inventive, accomplished and ebullient record. No longer a band of talented Brisbane teenagers, The Jungle Giants have grown into a group of experienced, formidable and creative musicians filled with the sense of irrepressible vitality that has served them so well to date.
The band turned to Magoo once again to record and produce their second album. Having just sold his own Applewood Studios and with the band reluctant to record in a traditional studio environment, The Jungle Giants and Magoo agreed to set up a temporary studio inside a 4 bedroom home in the mountain ranges near New South Wales/Queensland border. The band used almost every inch of space the house provided to record (there’s even the sound of a microwave turning on and whirring around in ‘Not Bad’) and used the relaxed vibe to be as creative as possible. “We wanted to play with all the sounds and ways of recording that we’ve been getting into over the past couple of years,” says Hales. “We wanted to have the means to realise – or at least try to realise – every idea that we had for this album.”
From the album’s first single and album opener, ‘Every Kind Of Way’, it’s apparent that The Jungle Giants are not mucking about. Kicking off with wailing guitar and liberally applied cowbell, ‘Every Kind Of Way’ is propelled by a driving rhythm and a provocative narrative that calls to mind the poets of the Beat Generation. Similarly, the album’s second single ’Kooky Eyes’ commences with a simple refrain complete with slacker intonations, before developing into an intensely noisy and chaotic beast. Even the seemingly sparse ‘Mexico’ (which serves as a bridge between the two album halves) is full of nuance. However, it’s the memorable rhythm, chiming melodies and experimental nature of ‘Creepy Cool’ that perhaps sum up this album best: The Jungle Giants have chops and they’re not afraid to use them. Where ‘Learn To Exist’ was a straight up indie rock release, ‘Speakerzoid’ is a beat-laden, percussive-sounding, groove-fuelled album that calls to mind a diverse and wonderful range of artists.
‘Speakerzoid’ also signals a strong global focus for The Jungle Giants. The band already has international dates under their belt courtesy of a series of club dates in SE Asia this past April, and the album will be released globally come August 7. In fact The Jungle Giants have managed to mirror their independent set up in two of the largest markets in the world – Europe and North America – with the record being supported by Kobalt Label Services in both markets. The band is incredibly proud of being able to retain global rights to their music while sharing it with an international audience.
As a body of work ‘Speakerzoid’ demonstrates The Jungle Giants’ willingness to push their musicality to new limits. It is an album that sees the band draw more deeply from their well of talents, while effortlessly maintaining the exuberance that made them so appealing in the first place.
The Jungle Giants are:
Sam Hales: Guitar / Vox
Cesira Aitken: Lead Guitar
Andrew Dooris: Bass / Vox
Keelan Bijker: Drums