Record review: Jinja Safari – Jinja Safari (2013, LP)

Upon hitting the play button on the new Jinja Safari album, I experienced a dark and awful moment in which I thought I had somehow stumbled upon a Paul Simon album circa 1990. Desperately scrambling to find the stop button, I spilt my coffee over a book I’d borrowed from a friend, burnt my thumb with the hot liquid, and suffered a mild panic attack brought on by the thought that I was voluntarily listening to Paul Simon. Thankfully the faux-world-music-jungle-drum vibes of opener ‘Apple’ quickly melted away (and the book soon dried off quite nicely), leaving nothing but an album of catchy indie pop and a moderately throbbing thumb. The Sydney quintet’s second full length album comes with the pressure of high expectation, on the back of a couple of solid EPs, a well-received album in 2011, and a reputation for a killer live show. ‘Oh Benzo!’ has a funky bass-line and a catchy chorus that should get crowds singing along when played lived, while ‘Harrison’ displays the band’s Indian influences with a short sitar interlude. Single ‘Plagiarist’ has received heavy radio rotation in recent weeks, making it the most recognisable track; its upbeat melodies and vocal harmonies are simply infectious, and later track ‘Source of the Nile’ has Himalayan percussion accompanying another melodic vocal performance and breezy guitars. It could be argued that some songs blur into each other without any real noticeable difference, but overall this album is a quality melting pot of global pop influences. (Island/Universal)

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