Ever found yourself bopping along to an infectious groove, fully engulfed in the song but not knowing who it was? Chances are that it was Jagwar Ma sneaking their way into your ear holes, and worry no more, you can listen to them at your beck and call now that their album Howlin has been unleashed.
The Sydney duo have been dominating the world stage with a string of European dates, appearing at Splendour in the Grass in just a few months as well as some stellar support spots to boot.
Howlin, the duo’s debut album was predominantly recorded in their hometown of Sydney, with an added dash of Berlin and France. These European influences together with their savvy mix of dance and rock beats culminate in a classy and polished finish to a thoroughly enjoyable record.
Right from the beginning, the album draws you in with slow burner ‘What Love,’ a smooth layer of decadent beats that sets a very sultry (and dare I say sexy?) vibe for the album. As you progress, track by track, that same vibe is played on and takes you to a higher and more chilled place. Think New Order meets Beach Boys.
It’s hard to ignore the recurring tribal and jungle-y feel throughout this appropriately named record. As each track reels you in, you’re greeted with some simple, uncluttered drumming, and a dash of percussion, leaving you imagining that you’re lost in a forest at dusk.
It’s hard to flaw this album as a whole, it really flows together seamlessly and with singles ‘Come Save Me,’ ‘The Throw’ and recent release ‘Man I Need’ receiving high rotation lately, it’s no surprise that Jagwar Ma are becoming someone to watch and someone that critiques love to love.
If I am to pick at anything, it would have to be that the end of the Howlin is a little bit more filler and less killer. ‘Backwards Berlin’ for example, is definitely more of an “album track,” and, taken out of its natural habitat may just lose oxygen and lack opportunity to thrive like it does in its album environment. That being said, it does draw a really nice and soft landing to the whole experience, and I thoroughly enjoy that aspect of it too.
All in all, a very solid debut record that leaves a promise of bigger and better things in future. The only question to ask yourself is, with a debut record this good: *howl they be able to top this?
*I apologise for no puns, however howlful they may be.
Star rating: 4.5 out of 5
Howlin is available now on iTunes. Stream it below via Spotify: