JUNGLE, Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Evening Standard, 31 Oct 2014

Towards the end of this show, once they had finished yelling “Shepherd’s BUSH!” for the hundredth time, one of Jungle made what sounded suspiciously like an acceptance speech. Namechecking multiple inspirations including mum and dad, perhaps they were the words Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland didn’t get to say at the Mercury Prize the night before.

The west London childhood friends’ self-titled debut album lost out to Young Fathers but should still do well without the added pressure because it is a cultural anomaly: a Mercury-endorsed album that is actually fun to listen to. Their propulsive falsetto funk and soul, created on computers but faithfully recreated here by a seven-strong band, has a retro groove guaranteed to make you feel 15 per cent cooler through the morning commute headphones.

Their sound is somewhat uniform in its vibe, those dual vocals and soft synths making some tracks feel as though they’ve passed by before, but it’s a smooth style that bears repeating.

As the pace picked up for Time and a climactic Busy Earnin’, with its synthesised horns and a gold confetti explosion, the mood was as celebratory as any awards ceremony. This was their prize, a headline slot on the stage they said they’d dreamed of playing “since we were 10 years old”. They seemed more than happy with that outcome.