By Eric Bensel
If Hüsker Dü and Devo had been invited to perform at a 90s rave, they might have joined forces to form La Jungle. This Belgian duo harvests the sweet spot where blistering hardcore, industrial techno, and krauty drone all intersect.
“Trance Hysteria,” closing the group’s 2015 self-titled release, brings the full Pollock splatter into stark focus. The track opens with a crunchy guitar riff and snare-heavy beat. Layers of looped guitar screeches then dogpile on, only to yield to a softly funky groove with a gentle shuffle beat and blunted synth farts.
Here in Paris’ cozy Supersonic club, such transe-like hysteria is an invitation to bounce, howl, and sweat. The Lightning Bolt-esque “Technically You’re Dead” and “L’Enfer” are white-knuckled drilling operations, boring down through the Earth’s crust. The effect of both tunes’ speed drumming and sharp riffing is exhilarating, while the repetitious beat instills a kind of delirium.
But for all the dense, raging, noisy post-rock, La Jungle’s sound is actually quite joyous. The mosh pit features more giddy smiles than sharp elbows, and the ambiance is less slam than it is dance.
And dance we do.
With set opener “Ape In A Python,” guitarist Jim shakes his tall, lanky frame with the elegance of a giraffe swatting a fly with its tail, at the same time it wipes gazelle shit off its hoof. Come to think of it, his moves may actually be the most eloquent explanation for the strange musical brew produced by this inventive combo. In the alternate reality where hardcore, techno, and drone coalesce into a single coherent category, La Jungle is the violent spasm that births this beautiful, new mutant.