The Brag Media
News October 27, 2015

Album review: The Jungle Giants – Learn To Exist

The Jungle Giants appeared on our radar two years ago with their cute-as-a-button take on catchy indie pop. Their self-titled EP won over the country’s ears and saw the band take off on whirlwind tours and festivals, despite having only eight prior live shows under their shiny new belts. Amidst the touring and performing, the Brisbane band honed their skills, perfecting their fun-filled pop chops all the while picking up some new talents in time for the recording of their debut studio album.

Learn to Exist finds The Jungle Giants tackle pop music with a richer flavour. Recorded in Brisbane bushland with guru producer Magoo (Regurgitator, Midnight Oil), the debut album retains The Jungle Giants’ distinctive pop hooks whilst mixing in some musical maturity.

Lead single I Am What You Want Me To Be is everything we remember about the Brisbane four-piece. Chirpy handclaps, a catchy guitar riff and lead singer Sam Hales’ sweet falsetto all leading into The Jungle Giants trademark crescendo. Building to a swinging frenzy, the track is a warm and familiar invitation into the record.

Skin and Bone follows suit. Starting in with a catchy-as-hell falsetto riff, that incites all the head bopping and knee jerking one can handle. The song is a total pop frenzy love song. Packed full with “ohh la la’s” and rolling drums, culminating in repetition of the lyric “lucky in love”, the track is all smiles. Plus their spot on vocal imitation of guitars would make them perfect Never Mind the Buzzcocks guests.

But the album is not all handclaps and sunshine. Learn to Exist showcases a depth and diversity to the band’s musicianship and Hales’ songwriting. Songs like A Pair of Lovers, Truth May Hurt and Devil’s in the Detail express darker themes of love and loss with heavier guitars and loaded lyrics. Devil’s in the Detail was penned by Hales in his bedroom and never intended for public consumption. The product is a paired-back track: a plucked guitar playing under Hales’ almost country-inspired vocals, singing “It’s a lonely life but you can make it better”.

The final track Home, a standout of the record, is an R‘n’B influenced slow-jam with steady beats, bluesy piano and Hales attempting some light beat-boxing just for fun. The experimental track is a stark contrast to the rest of the album and a testament to the diverse talents of the young songwriter – and recipient of the 2011 Billy Thorpe scholarship for his songwriting prowess.

Learn to Exist is a diverse and exciting album from the young Brisbane band that sees them delving into exciting unknown territory. The Jungle Giants are honing their craft, exploring new sounds and learning to exist.


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