Zane Birdwell crafts a truly classic piece of defiant rock on the undeniably joyous “Shame Jungle”. The mixture of indie rock, punk, glam, folk, and chamber pop add to the album’s beguiling nature. A great deal of instrumental variation helps to ensure that the whole journey seems to waft on by as if in a wonderful half-awake daydream. Full of color, the many textures and timbres utilized gives the collection a lived-in presence about them. By sidestepping trendiness, Zane embraces a timelessness one that makes all of the exact origins of the sound impossible to pin down. Thus, there is a good mixture of modern day as well as old school approaches, resulting in something that has a stunning finish to it.
A whole slew of influences abounds throughout the entirety. For the glam rock side of things, where he lets his hair down a bit, traces of Iggy Pop and David Bowie emerge throughout, more delicate homages than anything else. On the rebellious side of things, the arrangements do at times point towards the Pixies at their early stages, when the combustive punk mixed with indie rock proved to be a potent force. The gentler, kinder, and more folksy musings do possess a bit of the experimental airy ethos of Animal Collective in their folk-oriented phase. Tying all of this together is Zane’s penchant for lyricism, for every verse is treated with care.
The pastoral open of “Fantastic” quite quickly gives way to a colossal riff that races through for most of the track’s duration, as the drums hit with a distinct sense of physicality. Bass anchors the sly grooves of “Medicine Man” for there is a triumphant quality to it, unhinged in just the right way. Laid-back with a mellowed disposition is the delicate “The Barking Dog”. A live quality comes through on the playful “Garden Paradise” as there are good vibes flowing throughout. With a night-time ethos comes the spacious “Something New”. Clever patterns and a whole slew of styles add to the mystery of “Hellenistic Pyramid (feat. Jen Ho)” with the psychedelic aspect of the track fully in view. From moment one “It’s In Me” offers a take no prisoners tact for the song is a pure blur. Nice horns give “Sunday Smiling (feat. Tim S. Savard)” a bit of happiness to it. With a late 60s R&B ethos comes the skipping glee of “Steven”. Usage of fireworks adds to the racing rhythms of “Celebrate” which fuzzes out the guitars with care. Stripping things down to the essentials is the classically inclined finale of “Under the Moonlight (feat. Jen Ho)”.
“Shame Jungle” revels in Zane Birdwell’s thoughtful storytelling featuring narratives that linger on in the mind long after the songs have ended.