IAMTHELIVING (aka Rian Peters) and Teon Gibbs have released their latest EP JNGL. Joining us here in Vancouver from Botswana and the U.K, the pair released this six piece R&B/hip hop project together, naming it a word that represents their collaboration, through the symbolism of the concrete jungle and green wilderness.
The EP starts off very upbeat with “Puppa” — a song with a very catchy instrumental, an energy which transfers straight into the second track “Translation”. With quite sexy and sensual lyrics, these first two tracks set the scene for the rest of the tracklist. However, just as you think you’ve gotten the gist of the EP, Peters and Gibbs create something different, and beautifully so, in “Where Do We Go From Here”. Here, Peters’ voice is given the spotlight, as well as featuring Gibbs’ best performance too. This track is definitely a standalone piece, not only in the two musicians’ deliveries, but also in its lyrical content. It is a song that dives into deeper content and really shows vulnerability. With a beautiful melody and angelic choir vocals, this track dives into finding a deeper purpose while also bringing up important issues such as police brutality. It also manages to deliver some of the best lyrics on the EP including: “You pray a lot for change, but never see it working” and “The thought that I might make it really makes me nervous / I’ve got to deal with the demons that live beneath the surface”.
A drawback to the EP however, is how repetitive the background tracks can sometimes get by the time the song’s over — such as in “Boxes” and “Translation”. Not to worry though, since the most impactful songs on the EP are definitely the two slower ones: “Where Do We Go From Here” and “Fall”. The latter ends the project on a high note, another song filled with captivating vocals, melodies and lyrics. A tragic love song about wanting and needing to be better, this song is hypnotic. It is definitely a risk, ending the EP on lyrics like “Will I ever feel whole again?”, but “Fall” manages to provide incredible closure to JNGL while also leaving you craving more. — Valie