One Random Single a Day #81: “A Pair of Lovers” (2014) by The Jungle Giants

The Jungle Giants are a four-piece alternative pop-rock band who formed in Brisbane in 2011. Their debut album was Learn to Exist, from which they released two singles, today’s song “A Pair of Lovers” being one of them. Although they do have a fair amount of critical acclaim and an ever-growing fanbase, such success hasn’t necessarily been echoed in their commercial performance. Still, they’ve been featured in quite a number of festivals and seem to have acquired a pretty admirable following nonetheless. They continue to make music to this day, having just released their latest single “Feel the Way I Do” this past January.

I listened to a few of their songs, and the general impression they give is that they are pretty standard indie rock, nothing more and nothing less. Their breakout single “Mr. Polite” is most definitive of this, with its jangly, sunny guitars, nasally lead vocals,  evocative lyrics, and thumping rhythms. Pretty much every other song I’ve heard of theirs follows this same basic formula. I guess if it isn’t broke, there’s no need to fix it. It does give the impression of the group being particularly one-trick, as nothing about the tracks I’ve listened to come off as particularly amazing, but who am I to scoff at their comfort zone?

Actually, if I were forced to choose between their singles, “A Pair of Lovers” actually comes off to me as the most intriguing of the bunch. The guitar that drives this one along seems to bring back memories of the indie rock boom of the early 2000s – perhaps drawing inspiration from one of the British bands of the time, like Kaiser Chiefs or Arctic Monkeys. The lyrics are pretty standard for an upbeat song about trying to make a relationship work (“You’re a lover and a fighter / That’s okay with me”), but the whole thing is exquisitely tied together to craft a pretty catchy final product. There’s nothing amazing in the guitar, percussion, and certainly not the vocals, but the seamless way that the upbeat verses and choruses transition into the morose-sounding bridge – “Maybe it’s down to us” – is pretty darn effective.

Like I said, this is very much a paint-by-numbers kind of indie rock song, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t a good one. Perhaps the argument could be made that The Jungle Giants are about five or six years to late to even think about reaching for the dream of being a highly sought-after indie act – but hey, anything is possible! I can say with certainty that “A Pair of Lovers” definitely stands a chance at being a staple on my summer playlist this upcoming season.

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