While it’s easy to get caught up in the multitude of releases that come our way every day, what’s not hard is to forget a band like Jungle Fire. With two extremely well-received long players to their name, some killer remixes, and music placed in various media, it’s safe to say that their climb into the mainstream is here. Their Los Angeles TropiFunk self proclaimed trademark sound that has been building and bubbling, now boils over almost ten years later. On this latest self-titled record, they’ve gone a bit darker than the last few, but the eternal groove is still there for the listener to get up off of their seats and jam. The opener, “Quémalo”, is a nod to the Cuban master Juan Pablo Torres, a Pilón that is psychedelic and fuzzy. with an announcement from the band that they are here with new music, visions, and feelings. And these feelings are strong people. Standout tracks are abundant and include “Pico Union”, where Peruvian Chicha, bottom heavy drumming and experimental video games meet blazing horns and percussion. It’s also inspired by the neighborhood where JF rehearses. These things matter. “‘Biri Biri” has all the right dubby echoes combined with afro-beat aesthetics and translates to “that which spreads”. Quite fitting because it spreads infectiously. This record gets deeper into the Central and South American influences while holding on firmly to African rhythms, clearly expressed in “Masa” (not just an ingredient in good tamales, rather a deep musical experience with this one as well). A huge blueprint of their sound comes from “Slipshot”, which defines exactly the Los Angeles TropiFunk sound. Illustrative sonically and to the point, the bass controls this track and the percussion follows hard. Perhaps our fave track on the record, “Emboscada”, with it’s heavy cinematic and soundtrack groove, speaks volumes on the maturation and deep influences of the band itself. The experimental “Smash and Grab”, with tones of drum and bass, West African rhythms, as well horn lines that stop you in your tracks, while ‘OscilLAdope” sets up a future release that offshoots from JF. Tough stuff indeed. The band then takes it back to the early Jungle Fire releases with “Atómico”, pure dance floor heat. This one is a lava rock waiting to explode. Closing up with “Consider This” and a foray into scoring a film and everything that goes with it. Their take on how they’d do an episode of the classic Rod Serling Twilight Zone. Fitting for that and a fitting way to close this record, which is already a contender for top record of the year in our opinion. A strong, strong showing by the Jungle Fire crew, they’ve put Los Angeles TropiFunk on the map, and it’s here to stay. Shout out to Visions Collage for the dope Lp artwork as well. Listen to the record below and order after the stream.
Just heard Smash & Grab on Smoove & Turrell’s show. I can’t wait to listen to the rest of the album.