Friday, 2 February 2018

Album Review: Dance The Night Away by Jungleproof

I may have mentioned this once or twice since July but the ska punk festival known as Level Up, which took place at the New Cross Inn last year, was just superb. One of the things I loved about it was the amount of bands that came over from mainland Europe to play the festival. One of the bands who came other were Belgian's Jungleproof who played a great mix of ska and skate punk. They were also the first ska band I've ever seen to play a small tuba, so that was pretty cool. Last September (I'm way late with this one) the band released their long awaited debut album Dance The Night Away. I put on my dancing shoes and got ready to review the album.

Dance The Night Away begins with the song Look At Me. On Jungleproof's Facebook page their sound is described as "think Less Than Jake, but more furious, think NOFX, but more horns." Look At Me definitely falls into the NOFX side of that description. It's an immensely positive song about finding the strength to be whoever you want to be and not worrying about what others think. The brass section really comes into play on the next song, On Repeat. The intro to the song had me dancing in my chair immediately with Jungleproof's brass section really showing off their considerable talent. The track is about being stuck in a job where you feel trapped and wanting to go out and grab life by the horns. I loved how the song becomes more positive as it goes on. Around the halfway point of the track there is a fantastic musical breakdown that leads brilliantly into the final chorus. Up next is the album's title track and one that I can remember them playing at Level Up Festival. Dance The Night Away is a song that takes the term ska punk quite literally with clear sections of ska and punk. This contrast works so well with a superbly skankable verse and then a high energy punk rock chorus that's guaranteed to be opening up the best circle pits. This is good and ties in perfectly with what the song is about, encouraging a live crowd to dance with the band. Great song. The fourth track is titled Adrenaline and it features a great building start before a surprising scream of "YEAAAHHHH!" After the reasonably chilled out ska section this scream really wakes you up. Adrenaline is a hugely skankable song about needing to live on the edge to get the most out of your life, no matter the danger that this might present.

Warning Song is a song about parenthood and how much you love your child. It's an extremely sweet ska song and with super cute lyrics. You can't help but smile listening to the song and even the hardest of punk rockers' hearts will melt as the track goes on. The song has plenty of upbeat summer vibes about it. I can just imagine a room full of punks singing this song in dedication for their children - and their children being super embarrassed by it. The sixth song on Dance The Night Away is called One Third and it starts out with a great headbanging moment. I like how the song clearly has different melodies and tempos for its different sections. It gives you things to listen out for and will get you dancing all manor always during a Jungleproof gig. Romantic Song starts out with some guitars that sound a bit surf rocky before launching into another excellent brass part that loads the song with energy. Interestingly, just when I thought things were really going to take off, when the vocals come in everything slows down and lead singer Ronald Stassen comes in with the lines "I've Got A Winner In Me, That's What She Said Last Night." The song is full of cheeky and risqué lyrics about being in bed with your partner. The immature man-child that I am got a kick out of this and it had me smiling the whole way through. Following this is the track Not Tonight. This song continues the theme of sex. It's about how when a man is first dating a woman she makes him wait to get to the bedroom, so then the man turns it around and makes his woman wait and then gets dumped. This is a bouncy upbeat ska number that is impossible to remain stationary to.

Ocarina Of Schwein is a short instrumental piece played by alto saxophonist Gijs Ramakers on the ocarina. I laughed out loud (LOL if you're trendy and down with the kids) at Jungleproof's Bandcamp page where they have the lyrics listed for this song as "hoo hoo hoo hoo, woo woo hooo waa" etc. After this brief calming moment we have the swashbuckling Medieval Ska. This sounds like Jungleproof's take on the genre of pirate punk with the brass section taking us on one merry adventure. The track takes us on a fantasy adventure through time and makes us think about the mistakes our ancestors have made before us and how we're not learning from the past. The penultimate song is Bitch Of The Band. This track is another that falls much more in the punk rock side of the ska punk genre. Starting out with a deep, rumbling bass line and then some aggressive brass, we find ourselves with a song about being the most disrespected member of the band. The chorus here is great. The vocals find their way into emo and screamo territory and you will no doubt find yourself singing them for days and days. The final song on Dance The Night Away is Relax. Relax is not the word I would use to desribe the opening of the song - it's fast paced. It's like Jungleproof are trying to get every last piece of themselves out on the record. The track is about feeling like you're always busy and struggling to find time to relax.

Dance The Night Away was one of the best ska punk albums of 2017. It manages to blend everything I love about the genres of ska and punk and bring them together perfectly. No one track sounds the same and there are some great messages along with plenty of moments that made me laugh. Jungleproof are a fantastic band from the mainland who I would love to see back in the UK doing many more shows.

Stream and download Dance The Night Away here:

Like Jungleproof here:

This review was written by Colin Clark.

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