Sound: Everything about Nottingham born Jake Bugg screams authenticity. In May of this year, he told reporters of his mate's reaction to an impressive performance at a school concert. At school people would say I should go on Britain's Got Talent, but I would never have done that because it doesn't seem genuine, it doesn't feel natural. Jake Bugg's sound is natural and feels effortless. His voice is a mixture of Bob Dylan and John Lennon.
Jake Bugg is another emerging solo artist, who, like Miles Kane, Paolo Nutini and Michael Kiwanuka, makes his influences obvious, and while not reinventing the wheel, sounds so original purely by writing honest songs and writing them well. Jake Bugg's biggest strength is his simple, yet impressive song writing. The majority of the album is Bugg and his guitar set to a backing band.
The most obvious and immediate influence is Bob Dylan, heard on first track "Lightning Bolt", but most notably on the track "Trouble Town". Dylan's influence permeates the album, however there are touches of Oasis in "Two Fingers", John Lennon in "Taste It" and The La's in "Slide". // 8
Lyrics: Jake Bugg's biggest strength is his lyrical ability, and while he isn't at the level of Alex Turner he is a decent singer although his voice alone isn't yet strong enough to carry an album. His lyrics are very typically English, with themes or Love, life in Nottingham and melancholy.
On "Lightning Bolt" he talks about typical English life; Morning, it's another pure grey morning withthe lyrics throughout the rest of the songs are of the same ilk of "That's Entertainment" by The Jam describing what's fascinating in the mundane of everyday life. Two Fingers tells the story of Jake Bugg's upbringing in Nottingham, stories of typical teenage behaviour Skin up a fat one, hide from the Feds.
It is on "Trouble Town" that the influence of Bob Dylan, both lyrically and vocally shines brightest. Throughout the song he snarls with detest of the town in which is his stuck. Stuck in speed bump city, where the only thing that's pretty, Is the thought of getting out. // 9
Overall Impression: Jake Bugg is easily one of the best solo artists around at the moment. He isn't yetin the same league as Miles Kane or Noel Gallagher, but fits effortlessly into the pantheonof singer/songwriters such as Michael Kiwanuka and Paolo Nutini. Jake Bugg's debut is easily a favourite for album of the year, and it's definitely the best rock album of this year.
The standout tracks are:
1. Lightning Bolt
2. Two Fingers
3. Taste It
4. Seen It All
5. Trouble Town
In Bugg's own words on "Two Fingers" "Something is changing, changing, changing" and if Bugg's debut is anything to go by then his world will be changing rapidly as well. // 9