Saturday, 27 October 2012

Jack Bugg - Jake Bugg (Album Review 2012)

Jake Bugg - Jake Bugg

From time to time, a new single creates a false sense of anticipation for an album. That single is Two Fingers by Nottingham's 18 year old Jake Bugg. The renowned music expert, and man with his own two fingers on the pulse, DBA Jim (thanks JD!), put this new song my way and I was immediately and distinctly unimpressed. This is the sound of another young upstart embracing lad-culture, singing about smoking and drinking, like an early Alex Turner but without the charm. So the eponymous début album was approached with trepidation - for no good reason. Jake Bugg is a revelation. Supported by the song-writing and production talents of Iain Archer (Snow Patrol), Crispin Hunt (Longpigs) and Mike Crossey, Bugg deftly delivers a collection of wonderful stories and love songs, embodying his life, future hopes and dreams. From the vibrant guitar rockabilly of opener Lightning Bolt, and previous single Taste It, to the delicate charm of Country Song and the superb ballad Broken (Hunt's only, but vital, contribution), the first half of the album doesn't disappoint. Even the aforementioned Two Fingers (actually the fifth single from Jake Bugg), quickly followed by the tongue-in-cheek Seen It All ("One Friday night I took a pill, or maybe two..." begins the psychedelic adventure) with their over-confident, no-fear, swagger, add to the glorious mix. The second half is more sedate, kicking off with the excellent Trouble Town, immediately drawing comparisons with early Bob Dylan - all street-poet and attitude, The Ballad Of Mr Jones is a dark country-fuelled tale of misadventure, while Slide is another tearful ballad - the kind Richard Ashcroft can only dream of. Note To Self is Bugg's best vocal performance, the vibrato resonating from the world of Gerry Marsden and Gene Pitney, followed by the equally affecting Someplace. This blend of old-world production, new-world songwriting, and that fantastic voice is the key to Jake Bugg's triumphant musical introduction.
-- CS

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