They’ve got a conga player (Alex McBride) but there’s about as little of the jungle in Junglenoize’s sound as there is actual jungle left on the globe. Modern technology and noise have intruded on ancient music forms, and no one born before this decade would consider anything about Junglenoize primitive.
“River of Rhythm” is an instrumental progressive jam that’s too metal and angry to be as hippie-friendly as the band’s name, or the visual of McBride shaking his maracas would suggest. “Esoteric” gets darker, thanks to Tyler Olsson’s heavy growling about “the molecules in your blood.” The song continues like this until it becomes its own state of mind, long after it’s shaken your brain to jelly.
Sarek Gutierrez wails away accordingly on his standard drum kit, and the extra percussionist pressures bassist Andrew Maley to find the common thread between McBride and Gutierrez. Maley’s assertive success puts his bass in the lead, setting up a complex structure sturdy enough for Josh Gutierrez to hang his thickly knotted guitar riffs from. He gets an even better workout on “Fuzzy Lightning,” or it sounds like he does, anyway. It’s impossible to see what he’s doing hunkered in the shadows behind McBride, but he’s generating some impressive electronic squealing, enough for an army of cyborg pigs programmed with an impressive sense of melody and rhythm. The dude can play, is what I’m saying, and it all sounds surprisingly aggressive coming from someone who seems to be strategically hidden from view.
“We wanna share music with you,” Olsson says between songs, hawking the free CDs that sit in the box at his feet. “Hillbilly Paranoia,” the first in a Roman-numeraled song trio, doesn’t sound a thing like its name, either — not a single hickish note, just a long, dark, droning buildup to “Wipeout,” a showcase for a few more distortion-heavy guitar solos over an intentionally plodding rhythm. The hare finally overtakes the tortoise, though, in “Surf’s Up!” and it sounds pretty pissed off. Maley’s bass is back with force, as is Olsson’s voice. “This is not the one — oh no,” he howls, and despite the song’s title, it’s not immediately evident anyone in the band’s ever heard a surf-rock song or even gone outside during the daytime. Junglenoize sounds more like a group of musicians young enough to approach prog-rock working backwards from Metallica, and winding up, somehow, at Black Sabbath. Also, congas. Beats the shit out of me.
— Jeremy Martin