Jungles is the second EP from London tropical rockers Habitats. Set to be released almost exactly a year after their first record, and with that year being full of touring and festival appearances, these guys have been surprisingly hard at work for a band whose message is relax and have some fun.
The first track of the record, Boogie Waltzer – which the band are currently touring to support, is a whimsical number about taking time off from the daily grind to unwind. It wastes no time setting the tone for the record, jumping straight into bass and drums dancing about each other while channeling the essence of Saturday Night Fever.
The title song stops the EP dead in its tracks and rebuilds with a two-minute intro, demanding a fresh bout of attention. An odd choice for the third track of a four song EP and might have served better starting the record off. Two minutes later the song dips again, feinting towards a final, bigger crash, but instead becomes a slow instrumental outro leaving you unsure of why there was a build up at all.
The final song, Should Know Better, is reminiscent of Bombay Bicycle Club with that floaty-dancing sense of summer and slow build, adding layers to a strong finish.
Rolling off the success of their debut effort, Diamond Days, the band took to New York’s Waterfront Studios to produce their follow up record. The reverb-drenched sound heard especially on Diamond Days’ title track has been toned down a little, the guitar and bass tones still sound gorgeous but something isn’t quite right with the drums. They sound flat throughout and their deadness steals energy from the groove the guitar and bass work hard to build. The final song, Should Know Better, relies heavily on tom fills and just doesn’t flow well as a result. Other bands may have similar issues that go unnoticed, but Habitats’ groove centric sound makes it very prominent.
Whilst this was an enjoyable record, a full album would have been repetitive. Habitats would do well to develop their concept of the floating front man, as the rotational aspect of the band members taking centre stage seems to only benefit the live audience so far. Habitats sound like a band that aren’t weighed down by ego, and so if that group trust to take turns being in charge could transfer from performance to writing, they have a lot of potential to create some varied and interesting records in the future.
This music wants to be heard live and even the most statuesque of listeners will struggle not to nod their head as this comes through their headphones. Jungles is being released 12 February 2016, almost exactly a year after their debut EP. While they would benefit from some development, an EP a year mixed with their engaging stage presence will keep fans happy for some time.