Jake Bugg
Jake Bugg


4.0
excellent

Review

by Major Tom CONTRIBUTOR (139 Reviews)
October 13th, 2012 | 21 replies | 7,280 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Something is changing, changing, changing..."

Too many of today’s youth want only for fame and fortune, and sadly, music often gets caught in this ugly struggle. The success of shows such as ‘The X Factor’ couldn't serve as better examples of music being used as a mere commercial tool; an engineered, cynical ploy to bring home the bacon for men like Simon ***ing Cowell. There’s no heart in it; no soul. Its most successful artists sing songs they don’t write, to tunes they don’t compose, wearing clothes and haircuts picked by stylists, whoring themselves out to the public with massive budgets for videos and tours, not to mention the easy head start gained from the mass audience of banal ***e like ‘X Factor’. It makes one lose faith in modern music, then young men like Jake Bugg spring up out of nowhere.

It would've been all too easy for the teenager, raised in one of the largest housing estates in Europe - Clifton, Nottingham, England - to take the fast route to public exposure and appear on one of those aforementioned televised gawp-fests like so many others would. But he didn't. His first gig was at his local high school, and when it was suggested he audition for one of those TV talent shows he shunned the idea because “it doesn't feel genuine. It doesn't feel natural”. That’s the naked but crucial difference that sets the frame for this remarkable kid. He's doing something real and honest, and in this day and age, that’s a big ***ing deal. It’s unsurprising that he’s already gained the support of his peers; Oasis chief Noel Gallagher booking him as the opener for his High Flying Birds gigs and confirming “I’m a fan”. Coming from the songwriter in one of Britain’s biggest bands of the last 20 years, its high praise indeed.

Fortunately, listening to Jake Bugg’s self-titled debut album doesn't make it hard to see what all the fuss is about. It’s not going to re-write the rule book of rock but it doesn't have to. It’s a back to basics approach – with most tunes featuring Bugg’s voice and acoustic guitar way in the foreground – feeling like all that’s needed to re-fresh UK indie and shine a little light for the struggling guitar pop scene.

Big tunes such as ‘Two Fingers’ and ‘Lightning Bolt’ leap out with an effortless but astounding immediacy, and hook you in with razor sharp song writing. ‘Two Fingers’ is his biggest single – a 3 minute, should-be pop giant. It opens to a simple as could be acoustic strum before Bugg’s Americana-tinged vocals strain in, loud and pushed to the front of the mix as they rightly should be. It’s a simple tale, he goes back to Clifton to see his old friends; the thrill of the day is to “skin up a fat one, hide from the feds”. But the council estate kid vibe soon gets drowned out by Bugg’s anthemically catchy optimism in the chorus “so I hold two fingers up to yesterday / light a cigarette and smoke it all away / I got out, I got out / I’m alive and now I’m here to stay”. The roots of the singer are bare and genuine, but that optimism and his song writing skill ensures this refreshing artist is more than just important to the scene but potentially a star.

‘Lightning Bolt’ is even more propulsive and catchy, and like earlier tracks such as ‘Kentucky’, show off Bugg’s influence of American artists like Dylan – as he is sometimes jokingly dubbed the east midlands version of. Although the American link is there, there’s still a tangibly British feel to the lyrics. For every yell of “moma” there’s a reference to “drinking white lightning” to match.

The real surprises on this stellar debut come in the more subdued moments. The tunes are even more stripped back and Bugg’s vocals even louder in the mix. ‘Slide’, ‘Simple as This’, ‘Country Song’ and especially ‘Broken’ are all staggeringly pretty guitar pop ballads, some more subdued, others more emotional. It shows a deeper side beyond the swaggering surface of an 18 year old who smokes joints on council estate streets with his mates, and goes to parties where people pull him aside to reveal that “everyone here has a knife” (‘Seen it All’).

Jake Bugg is simply a rarity in today’s music. It moves in cycles - new bands come along and bring elements of the past up to date, refreshing guitar music and thrusting it back into pop’s approval. The Smiths made guitars cool again in the 80’s, the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays brought elements of 60’s psychedelica crashing into the modern day, fusing them with dance. Oasis nicked from the Beatles and the Stones, and just about every other great British rock and roll band of the decades before to become globe spanning preachers of guitar goodness. The Libertines brought anarchism back and the Arctic Monkeys shook up the early 00’s with the sharpness of Alex Turner’s lyrics, but then the UK guitar music scene slowly dried up.

But the cycle may have just about come full circle in time for the next big thing to refresh the scene. It’s a new decade, and bands such as Birmingham’s arty Peace and London’s rough and ready Palma Violets are blasting out the first signs of something exciting happening in British guitar music again. With Jake Bugg’s raw, honest talent, he may just prove the simple catalyst to set the ball well and truly rolling. Whether he does or not is not actually important, as aside from all the hype, buzz and expectation placed on his young shoulders there’s a genuine and exciting talent that’s shines bright on this album, and will ensure Jake Bugg won’t be a name to forget soon.



Recent reviews by this author
Metronomy Love LettersTemples Sun Structures
Bombay Bicycle Club So Long, See You TomorrowOasis Dig Out Your Soul
Oasis Don't Believe the TruthOasis Heathen Chemistry
user ratings (82)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
jammaking (4.5)
Young, fresh and very talented......

related reviews

Shangri La

Comments:Add a Comment 
Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2012



19411 Comments


I can't stand album covers like this. I was automatically reminded of Justin Bieber.

Digging: Musk Ox - Woodfall

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2012



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haven't been around here for months! Anyways, check this guy out, he's cool.

Two Fingers - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9XwFecNXyU

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2012



19411 Comments


I'd rather not lol but well written review pos'd.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2012



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the pos

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2012



19411 Comments


No problem. Damn you've written 118 reviews? Lol never even seen you before ;)

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2012



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

He couldn't be further from Beiber though, though i agree the album cover is a little lame.

Ha, well i've changed my username and used to mainly review older stuff ; )

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2012



19411 Comments


Okay I'll give this a try later then.

newjunkaesthetic93
October 13th 2012



1871 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Oh my god his voice is awful and his lyrics blow. God I hate the NME. First they convinced the world that The Vaccines were a good band and now this.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2012



15775 Comments


dont like this but review was sound, pos

Digging: Synaesthesia (UK) - Synaesthesia

Tyrael
October 13th 2012



20723 Comments


Dude I thought you'd be a contributor by now what happened

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2012



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the pos's guys.

I've never been offered it unfortunately, Tyraelxy. I took a break too, kinda lost the spirit, so it's been a few months since i last posted anything too.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2012



7313 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review as ever Tom.

As far as I'm aware I've not actually heard Jake Bugg yet. I'll check this out but I'm not sure it'll be my thing.

LifeAsAChipmunk
October 14th 2012



4854 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

good review but I can't really agree with some of its points

Steoandnoodles
November 20th 2012



2832 Comments


I like this. It's pretty darn good. =)

AutoRock
February 3rd 2013



416 Comments


Pretty good. Sounds like a Dylan and Noel Gallagher had a lovechild.

NightProwler
February 23rd 2013



6309 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is an excellent review, I pos'd!

I'll probably give this a few listens today, my friend is overly excited about this guy - so it should be good!

Digging: Jack White - Lazaretto

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
April 1st 2013



6323 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Lightning Bolt is such a tune. Kinda ashamed I only listened to this now, but this is a really enjoyable little album.

Digging: Shackleton - Deliverance Series No. 1

Closk
July 13th 2013



39 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is one cool kid

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
November 17th 2013



5968 Comments


my roommate loves this dude

just started listening to this my goodness is this nigga bob dylan's biggest fan

Cygnatti
November 17th 2013



21349 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

lol how accurate

Digging: The Avalanches - Since I Left You



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy