Monday, June 11, 2012

Pitstop: Jinja Safari


I apologize in advance for what I'm about to do to you. I mean, someone certainly should warn you that the music of Australia's Jinja Safari is absolutely going to overtake your life. It's a basic courtesy I wish someone had extended to me. And you may be looking at me dubiously and may seek out their music to prove to yourself and maybe me that you won't be reigned in. That was my downfall when Sam at MiddleClassWhiteNoise mentioned how much he loved them and I, unamused and curious, attempted to listen to them just to say I did.

The music of Jinja Safari is surprisingly easy to explain: Jungle pop. Plain and simple. Inspired in part by co-frontman Marcus Azon's African roots but it's what they infuse into it that's what's so addicting about it. Each and every Jinja Safari song radiates with an undeniable and overwhelming excited energy. In "Mermaids", there's a sort of dreamy unraveling before the exhilarating rush of percussion sweeps you in. It's a track that is almost offensive in its catchiness saved by it's deliberate pacing and switches from over-the-top party-rock to quiet mostly narrative-spewing plodding at a moments notice.

But it's a method shared by the vast majority of the band's music that I've had the pleasure to hear, the frenetic euphoric climaxes are just that and are earned rather just placed in front of you unceasingly and that's what makes Jinja Safari a noteworthy band, they balance blatantly fun music with exceptional musicianship. In songs like "Forest Eyes" and "Peter Pan", the songs are brilliant even at their most basic level - containing little ear-catching music moments that compose the unquestionably great whole.

Jinja Safari's aesthetic seems that to be that of pure unadulterated revelry using bright, bursting sounds and turning to any means to do so, mostly in the form of a notable folk influence. But it's the folk music that we rarely think of anymore: the kind reserved for celebrations and rites of passage in places where music isn't treated as a commodity but as a simple and unavoidable way of life. And that's what comes out most in the music of Jinja Safari, a completely unavoidable sense of enjoyment, of joy, and an almost debilitating desire to want to dance. If you listen to Jinja Safari, you do so at your own risk but it's a risk that's certain worth the reward.

Unfortunately if you're not in Australia or New Zealand, their debut double EP Locked By Land is pretty unavailable to you, unless you import it. But hopefully a recent short US tour the band just completed means there's something far more accessible to come. Here's to hoping. Until then you can get your fix via the songs and videos at their website here and Soundcloud.

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