There’s a jungle inside the mind of singer and guitar player Andy Browne, and it’s teeming with life. The five songs that make up Lynx Deluxe’s Jungleland EP take shape as an enigmatic reckoning of the self, the spirit, and Southern identity. Heavy rhythms, subtle brass filigree, and percolating keys are pushed forward by arty rock leanings powered by enough muscle and confidence to uphold the group’s ambitions.
Opening number “Jane Goodall” puts a face on part of the music’s veiled metaphors, beginning with the sounds of a screaming chimpanzee in an ecstatic state. The closing song, “Steppin’ On Gold,” brings an even deeper allegory—steeped in the imagery of The Wizard Of Oz—to an intriguing point. Along the way, the musical journey from inner chaos to contentment reveals itself to be an exercise in catharsis, driven by evocative lyrical imagery and compositions that are as thick as English Ivy.
“Jane Goodall,” “The Struggle,” and “Mercy” are bound by a barreling spaciousness and momentum that falls into place with musical unity. Browne’s strained yet soaring and impressionistic voice is accentuated by the ambiance created by bass player Lucy Theodora, drummer Brad Mattson, keyboard player Billy Fields, and guitarist Greg Di Gesu weaving an intense musical web that matches the power of lyrics such as “It’s a struggle to break the chains / It’s a struggle to take the blame / It’s a struggle to let it go / To sit like Buddha in a perfect flow” in “The Struggle.”
Browne’s songwriting resonates with a deeply buried and universally shared note that rings out in all of our minds. In “Saints” and “Steppin’ On Gold,” that note shifts to bolster the uplifting and undeniably catchy essence of each number as they rise out of some vast and mysterious part of the imagination, giving rise to a sense of calmness that’s achieved equally through Browne’s words and the group’s long, interweaving instrumental chemistry. This alone makes Jungleland an engaging chapter for Browne, whose songwriting first left a mark in the mid ‘80s while he fronted Atlanta’s Southern post-punk rockers the Nightporters, a band that also featured bass player Tim Nielsen and drummer Paul Lenz of Drivin N Cryin. In more recent years, his songs fronting the Andy Browne Troupe have revealed themselves to be stepping stones leading to the baroque and Southern alternative rock and pop that Lynx Deluxe brings to life. Jungleland is a true band effort without allegiance to the past, present, or the future. The songs are open-hearted, complete, and flourishing with redemptive fodder for the imagination that’s mysteriously timeless.
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