Reviews for Neon Jungle's "Welcome to the Jungle"



Despite scoring an impressive three consecutive UK Top 20 hits, the latest girlband on the block, Neon Jungle, still seem to be a fairly anonymous proposition. That's perhaps due to their speaker-blasting club-friendly sound, which although utterly anthemic, could easily be mistaken for any number of faceless EDM acts who have emerged in the wake of Guetta, Harris et al.

However, their debut album, 'Welcome To The Jungle,' suggests that there's more to Shereen, Amira Jess and Asami than the filthy basslines, down and dirty synths and turbo-charged beats of their early run of singles.

FORTITUDE, 3.5/5
They say a lot can happen in a year, and for Asami, Jess, Shereen and Amira, such a statement will never be more apt. Début album, ‘Welcome to The Jungle’ opens with the group’s successful second single; the monstrous Rave-ruckus, ‘Braveheart’. The track smacks of in-your-face attitude and immoveable confidence (But then again, what else would you expect from a group of girls “on that club ground battle scars”?), but it’s what comes after Asami’s count off (“Ichi, ni, san, kaesu!”) that truly shines; a colossal and euphoric instrumental that invites any listener to lose themselves in the hammering bass line.

Third single, title track and band namesake ‘Welcome to The Jungle’ follows storm that ‘Braveheart’ started. While it would have served better as the album’s opening track, due to it’s less aggressive nature in comparison to it’s predecessor, on it’s own, it’s actually another brilliant example of Neon Jungle’s “No holds barred” attitude, this time accompanied by a Dancehall backdrop and a dub-heavy beat paved with urban grit. Like ‘Braveheart’, the track features members Jess & Amira rapping together, this time trading lyrical matter referring to salad for more mature, if at times, “NSFW” content.

Debut single, ‘Trouble’ picks up next, and is a welcome reminder of how the group started as the Electro-hurricane amidst the wave of R&B-revival that comes from most contemporary girl groups. Written by 2011’s cool-kid of pop, CocknBullKid, ‘Trouble’ is a short ’n’ sweet, unruly banger, boasting a pulsating beat and throbbing bass. Lyrically, there isn’t a lot going on, but the key lyric (“I don’t look for Trouble, but Trouble looks for me / And it’s been waiting around corners since I was 17”) will soon bore it’s way into your brain and have the track on loop.

‘Louder’ is where the band strips themselves of their infectious Electropop-hooks and allows them to demonstrate their vocal abilities on this booming ballad about drowning out emotions. Although Amira & Shereen boast power as they take the lead on the track’s thunderous chorus, it’s Asami who shines here as she welcomes us into the song with her uniquely smoky, yet gentle vocals.

‘Can’t Stop the Love’ is filled to the brim with summery Urban-pop twinkles and sparkling vocals to match on the verses before jumping into a defiant, hand-clapping hook. The groups’ primary songwriter, Australian Pop-botherer Cassie Davis, delivers yet again with her infectious hooks and while producer Snob Scrilla offers decent production, his guest rap causes the track to fall short.

There’s a distinct air of Rated R/Talk That Talk-era Rihanna on the sample-heavy ‘Bad Man’. The track, unfortunately, barely scrapes past “filler” status as it fails to build upon it’s strutting beat and grisly bassline. What manages to save it is the girls’ faultless confidence and snarling attitudes.

‘Sleepless in London’ sees the girls sing about insomnia caused by not telling their respective loved ones how they truly feel. Scrilla’s production offers up a slice of glistening Synthpop that heavily recalls that of The Saturdays in their early career.

‘Waiting Game’ is a cover of a song by sultry Soultronica songstress, BANKS. Unfortunately for the girls, the emotionally delicate vocals and ice-cold production of the original were integral to the song’s overall framework, both of which have been lost in this cover.

‘So Alive’ swoops in to save the day. Jarrad Rogers (Ella Eyre, Rebecca Ferguson, Aiden Grimshaw) takes the production helm to create an utterly infectious and heavenly piece of Synthpop. And who better to write the lyrics for this wonderful canvas than she who released one of the best Pop albums of 2013? Providing the lyrics is the ever-prolific Charli XCX. The lyrics breathe creativity from every pore and the music is profusely euphoric and effervescent.

Like ‘Louder’, standard album closer ‘Fool Me’ is quite the little thunder storm. Shereen shines as she takes control on the emotionally charged chorus and demonstrates the power in her vocals as she belts over the orchestral strings and tribal-esque percussion.

The deluxe version of the album features two extra original songs, both co-written by CocknBullKid. The first is ‘Future X Girl’; a guitar-driven Pop Rap stomper that recalls Ke$ha’s ‘Die Young’. The second is an emotive MNEK-written, mid-tempo ballad titled ‘London Rain’ that demonstrates a beautifully vulnerable intensity that feels like a more suiting closer than ‘Fool Me’.

While ‘Welcome to The Jungle’ is filled with many good songs, the track order causes the album to sound scattered. With a reworked tracklist, the album would sound far more cohesive.
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VIRGIN MEDIA, 1/5
Neon Jungle are four feisty young ladies who are ripping up the rule book and taking the music world by storm…

ARRGH! No! No! Make it stop!

Here is what Neon Jungle REALLY are: a new girl band of quite excruciating banality, whose cynical, opportunistic debut album of tinny rave-pop is so derivative that it will have you losing the will to live before track three.

(OK, marketing, there’s the quote for the promo posters!)

Depicted as bad girls but looking like stage school wannabes, Neon Jungle have enjoyed a run of three top 10 hits. Braveheart, the first and best, was a killer Kelis-style rave-pop number spoilt by shrill, Auto-tuned harmonies; Welcome To The Jungle and Louder were Primark Rita Ora.

Yet these mediocre offerings sound like towering achievements next to the rest of this wretched debut album, which is destined to be farted out of cheap mobiles on the top deck of 38 buses by gum-chewing tweenies.

Where do you start? Supposed gangsta strut Bad Man is so thin and dated it is more evocative of Pac Man. The anaemic Trouble sounds as if it were written as a ringtone, not a song. Waiting Game is Ella Eyre on a budget, and not a big one. It is truly desperate stuff.

Neon Jungle will tour shopping centres, and then split when one of them either marries Harry Styles or develops a drug problem. Really, it can’t come soon enough. (rude as fuck)
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Yahoo! UK

Despite scoring an impressive three consecutive UK Top 20 hits, the latest girlband on the block, Neon Jungle, still seem to be a fairly anonymous proposition. That's perhaps due to their speaker-blasting club-friendly sound, which although utterly anthemic, could easily be mistaken for any number of faceless EDM acts who have emerged in the wake of Guetta, Harris et al.

However, their debut album, 'Welcome To The Jungle,' suggests that there's more to Shereen, Amira Jess and Asami than the filthy basslines, down and dirty synths and turbo-charged beats of their early run of singles.

Indeed, skyscraping power ballad 'Louder' looks like adding to their tally of chart entries this weekend, but the majestic cover version of hotly-tipped newcomer Banks' gloom-pop torch song, 'Waiting Game,' and the dramatic closer 'Fool Me' also both prove that beneath the quartet's brash exterior, there's also some powerhouse vocal talent.

Elsewhere, 'Sleepless In London' is a tale of heartbreak in the capital set to a backdrop of shimmering synths and lovelorn piano chords, 'So Alive' echoes the playful self-described 'Tumblr-pop' of its co-writer Charli XCX, while 'Can't Stop The Love' is a twinkling R&B affair featuring emerging Aussie-American rapper Snob Scrilla.

Neon Jungle's explosive first few releases, therefore, certainly don't paint the whole picture. But for those who prefer the group at their most 'in-yer-face,' then the chaotic blend of rave riffs, helium vocal samples and hypeman chants on 'Bad Man' is certainly worthy of joining 'Trouble,' 'Braveheart' and the title track in their canon of hands-in-the-air floorfillers.

'Welcome To The Jungle,' for the most part, is the kind of record that practically begs you to turn up the volume to eleven. But there's also signs that the girls have what it takes to survive once the whole EDM scene loses its shine.

‘Welcome to The Jungle’ will be released July 28, 2014.

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