In their new single “Ocean Creatures,” rockers Jane n’ the Jungle are taking their time building up to an epic release in the chorus, and although it’s a relatively standard pop song structure, it doesn’t feel very typical when they’re playing it out. The guitars pierce through the silence epically in this song, and where the vocal has a humanity to it that is distinctive and emotive, the instruments reflect a blankness all too common in the world today. This track is, in some ways, social commentary, but it’s also a fair depiction of a post-grunge rock n’ roll led by emotion over pizazz.
This lead vocal is especially haunting as we make our way into the midsection of “Ocean Creatures,” and I think it benefits from the hollow percussive force in the backdrop as much as it does any of the melodic instrumentation. Jane n’ the Jungle have been one of the few indie rock acts that I’ve come across in the past two years that really put some stock into tonal expressiveness, and to this end, I can’t say that there’s anything different about their latest single. It’s solidifying their sonic reputation, at the very least.
The rhythm of these instruments has a fleeting but wholly gentle sway that adds to the essence of the harmonies and the hook the same, and I don’t think the narrative would be coming off as powerfully as it does with a more aggressive tempo. There’s a lot that this band can do when they’re galloping through a track and dishing out some major riffage, but in this instance, they’re able to slow down and show us that speed isn’t something they’re dependent on in the least. On the contrary, as long as they’ve got the tone, they’ve got a tale that can be told one lick at a time.
Potent verses lead us down a dark rabbit hole in “Ocean Creatures” if we let them, including sterling lines like “It only took thirty years / Before I knew how to give / Before I knew how to live / Then I started hating myself;” the bulk of which can be interpreted as a reference to mortality and self-awareness alike. Depending on the angle you’re reading this piece from, I think it’s notably heavier than anything Jane n’ the Jungle have toyed with in the studio before, but not quite a departure from the brooding style they’ve always employed.
While it’s true that this single is a direct descendent from the grunge era, it’s planting a flag in the modern rock n’ roll spectrum that needs to fly high in my opinion. Jane n’ the Jungle is reminding all of us, both rockers and those who simply observe the genre, that keeping things on the simple side can result in some of the most expressive pop music you can make, and with “Ocean Creatures,” they step up their game again in the name of becoming not only a tighter band but a more effective group of artists.
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