The Jungle Giants:
Sam Hales: Guitar / Vocals
Cesira Aitken: Lead Guitar
Andrew Dooris: Bass / Backing Vocals
Keelan Bijker: Drums
Listen to The Jungle Giants’ third studio album Quiet Ferocity and one thing becomes clear: the band has found their sound.
The Jungle Giants – comprising Sam Hales on vocals/guitar, Cesira Aitken on lead guitar, Andrew Dooris on bass guitar/backing vocals and Keelan Bijker on drums/trombone – formed in Brisbane at Mansfield State High. Since their first performance in 2011, The Jungle Giants have released two EPs (The Jungle Giants, 2011, and She’s a Riot, 2012) and two studio albums (Learn to Exist, 2013, and Speakerzoid, 2015).
Quiet Ferocity combines the signature melodic arrangements of the first Jungle Giants’ album with the percussion-laden production of their second and catapults them into a sonic stratosphere that is entirely their own.
‘After Speakerzoid I didn’t write for a while,’ Sam says. ‘I needed to figure out what I wanted to do. I had to get out of my head. Then one day in the pool it came to me, and I made this conscious decision. I told the band I wanted to make banging indie rock. I wanted to make a strong record that I would be happy to play live.’
But it wasn’t always that easy. Before Speakerzoid, Sam was having trouble writing. He went to Paris on a writing trip, but instead of writing he just spoke to himself out loud. Because he couldn’t write he began to read. He read a piece on creativity by Ernest Hemmingway and felt it was talking to him.
‘I learned so much on that trip I couldn’t process it all,’ Sam says. ‘Then after Speakerzoid came out I remembered the essay and the notes I’d written. And I knew what I had to do.’ Sam worked five days a week, 9-5. If something wasn’t working, he moved onto the next song. ‘This was really important,’ Sam says. ‘When I clocked off each day I gave myself permission to stop thinking. It let the album breathe.’
Quiet Ferocity brims with triumph, enthusiasm and, at times, pain. Recorded and produced entirely by The Jungle Giants, the record’s strength lies in the amalgam skill of Sam, Cesira, Andrew and Keelan, who have been making music together for so long their bond is familial.
One of the main sonic identifiers on the album, On Your Way Down showcases the band’s ability to combine simple arrangements with melodic intensity. ‘It makes you want to dance, but also clench your fists,’ Sam says. ‘When I wrote it I knew it was going on the record and everything else would have to make room for this song and nod towards it.’
Already proving a fast favourite on Triple J, Feel The Way I Do combines charging dance hooks with a contagious scream-your-lungs-out chorus. ‘The song came from nowhere and I had to write it down. It felt like a gift.’
And then there’s Quiet Ferocity’s title track with massive bass lines that lead to a nostalgic hell-yeah chorus - ‘When we get together/I forget the time’ - before veering into 3am eyes-closed-where-are-my-limbs-wait-I-want-to-kiss-you territory.
Of People Always Say, Sam says, ‘Initially, the song wasn’t even going to make the album.’ He’d tried so hard he’d over-produced it, but the band agreed there was something about it. In the studio, the band worked to simplify the song but something was still missing.
So Sam pulled out a synth and began hitting different keys. Cesira, Keelan and Andrew would yell, ‘Yes!’ and then ‘No!’ until they were all screaming, ‘Yes!’. They knew they’d found the sound. ‘It was a happy accident,’ Sam says. ‘But we had a lot of those, working together. It was awesome and validating, all of us being there in the studio on the same level. It’s the deepest dance-driven song on the record and that’s why we put it last. It felt like a full stop, like we’d built people up to the point where all we could do was say goodbye, until next time.’
Quiet Ferocity is infectious.
So get ready.
It’s coming for you.