Over the last few years Southern quartet Habitats have been making a name for themselves. Their brand of ‘tropical’ indie pop has helped stand them out from their peers. Almost a year to the day form their last release, the Diamond Days EP, they return with the Jungles EP but sadly the sparkle is missing this time.
Lead track ‘Boogie Waltzer’ starts off briskly with a jaunty beat and those ‘tropical’ infusions, but after the opening 20 seconds it descends into a faux-funk jam track. The chorus of “Ooooooo Weeeeee Ooooo Eeeeeee Oooooo” and then “Don’t You Ever Want to Feel Like Someone Else Tonight?” sounds jarring and irksome, like they couldn’t really think of anything better and went with something they wrote in haste in the back of the van on the way to the studio. This is a shame as the opening salvo gives the impression of an indie disco classic, but sadly it’s not.
‘Should Know Better’ starts strongly, but as soon as Joe Payne starts singing it loses any of its charm and appeal. It’s the musical equivalent of going to a pub being charged £5 for a can. You are annoyed, and don’t want to pay the money, you do, but you take no enjoyment from it and can’t wait to leave so you can get a proper pint from a better pub.
However the EP ends better than it starts. Title track ‘Jungles’ instrumental intro works really well and the bands ‘tropical’ meanderings work well. Yet again however the lyrics let everything down again and Payne’s vocals are nauseating. The music never really recovers from this body blow and sadly meanders into obscurity. This is a shame as the intro was bright and showcased the bands ability to craft an enjoyable groove based backing track. Float Together is the strongest track on the EP. For just under three minutes it grooves and juts along. While their trademark ‘tropical’ sound is still there the lack of an undulating choruses of vowels, and that the funk has been reigned in a bit, but its works well. Payne’s vocals sound more confident and self-assured. It’s a shame the rest of the EP wasn’t like this.
Habitats sound like the offspring of the 1975’s and Bastille after a coke fuelled orgy at the Shacklewell Arms. Their sound is insipid and its repetitiveness is grating to say the least. I really wanted to like this EP and played it more times that I care to think about trying to ‘get it’, but after each listen I found it more and more tedious.
The only real positives are that Habitats have tried to steer away from the usual indie pop formula and the ‘tropical’ injection is a novel twist. They’re also proficient in their respective instruments and their conviction it there. In certain circles this would be a high watermark of the year, but the lyrics are pedestrian and come across as an after through. Sadly the music isn’t strong enough on its own for you to overlook this.
I totally understand that I am probably the wrong person to review this EP, but if you can’t win over the neutrals and non-believers then you should probably know better.