The soul collective hit the road in search of that "sunshine feeling."

By Siobhan Reid
October 24, 2018
Courtesy of XL Recordings

Jungle may have gotten its start in West London, but the funk band’s follow-up, For Ever, is unmistakably a record inspired by California.

There are two songs — “House In L.A.” and “Heavy, California” — that make explicit reference to the Golden State. But with its infectiously upbeat rhythms and sweeping, cinematic quality, For Ever just sounds like a record spun out of pure California sun.

Travel + Leisure caught up with Josh Lloyd-Watson, who leads the seven-person band along with Tom McFarland, to learn about how his time in Los Angeles shaped the autobiographical album.

“I met a girl and moved out to L.A.,” he said. “But I’ve always been inspired by the place. We've traveled there many times as a band, and music and movies have always painted it in a very romantic light.”

Courtesy of XL Recordings

Lloyd-Watson's ’s experience, along with quintessentially Californian albums like the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, informed the album’s richly symphonic sound.

“I’ve always loved the idea of 1950s America, specifically in California,” he said. “On the surface, you’ve got this idealistic lifestyle and sunshine feeling, but underneath is this melancholy.”

The album offers both halves of the whole with energetic tracks like “Happy Man” and “Beat 54 (All Good Now)” as well as heartbroken ballads like “Give Over” and “House in L.A.” (Both Lloyd-Watson and McFarland’s respective relationships ended at the time they started writing the album.)

“When you’re in love everything is good, everything is fine, you’re just living life and reacting to things as they come,” he said. “But when it ends, you make music to heal the pain.”

As to whether he still thinks fondly on his time on the West Coast, Lloyd-Watson says Los Angeles “lived up” to his romanticized notions, but adds, “You love it and you hate it. You want something so badly and eventually you realize it’s not everything it’s cracked up to be.”