You can listen to 'Two fingers' here.
It took me a few listens to 'Lighting bolt' to get used to the song, but from that moment on I never looked back for one moment. What a great, delightful song, presented with spunk and wit, but above all self-confidence. Jake Bugg is only 18 years old, but seems to have delivered his first classic song already. The ease with which the song flows is remarkable, as few songs seem so fluent. Above all, 'Lighting bolt' seems to have cost no blood, sweat and tears to create what soever. Just like as if it has always been there. The song made me very curious to the album on which Jake Bugg presents himself to the world at large.
Born Jacob Edwin Kennedy (Nottingham, 1994) Jake Bugg must have listened a lot to the likes of Bob Dylan when he was, well, younger. His way of singing has something of the early Dylan, when he softens his voice its Donovan, who started out as a Dylan adept in 1965. Bugg didn't stop there, as there are definite pop elements in his music. 'Two fingers' is the sort of song Noel Gallagher must have wished in his dreams to have written and killed in layers of guitar. If something becomes clear, it is that Jake Bugg likes an open sound. A rhythm guitar, lead guitar, bass and drums. Rimshots are fine for parts of the songs.
It slowly dawns on me that Jake Bugg, the album, is starting to have the same impact on me as 'Whatever people say I am, that's what I'm not'. Not that all songs on Arctic Monkeys' first album were fantastic, but as a whole the album rocked my musical world, like only few other albums have through the years. The urgency in Jake Bugg's songs is the same as on 'Whatever ...'. The colouring is different, as Jake is more rock and roll and folk oriented that Alex Turner c.s. 'Simple as this' emulates early Dylan with an Everly Brothers melody and harmonies. Again it seems as simple as this, while also this song aspires for perfection if it is not just that.
The album has gone to the number one spot in the UK which is totally surprising, as the album has nothing to do with 2012. Who buy records these days? Right 40+ year olds, so that is satisfactorily explained. as far as I am concerned the position is well deserved. Jake Bugg will go into history as one of the great début albums ever. The singer even gets away with 'Broken' which could have been sung by Nana Mouskouri in her days. It leaves me listening silently all the way to the climax. The bit raucous 'Trouble town' does a 1966 Dylan and 'Sunshine Superman' in one and in great form too. 'Note to self' seems to prove that someone like Tim Hardin is no stranger to this young singer also.
The variation on the album is magnificent and Jake Bugg gets away with everything. He has something to say and drives it up right to our door step. There are some issues to deal with listening to some of the lyrics. If anything, Jake Bugg seems to deal with them in quite a grown-up way. Contemplative beyond his years. Looking at the video, a shaving kit is not a tool used often, but he knows how to write lyrics (and songs).
'Ballad of Mr. Jones' is a psychedelic outing, like Traffic were masters at, e.g. 40.000 Headmen', next to the obvious tip of the hat to the master himself. The sound of the album is crystal clear, putting Jake Bugg's voice right in front. No choir would ever admit him, like most rock singers aren't, but his voice is very authentic.
As a last comment. The photo's I've seen so far all show a young man trying to look like Keith Richards in 1964, stands in a street like Bob Dylan in 1963 and smoking, smoking, smoking. Something so uncool in 2012 that it becomes cool again. The setting is clear and we "oldies" have someone new to listen to. Let's hope for Jack's sake that 50 something's and older are not the only faces he has to stare at when playing live. He can expect me anytime soon, though.
If this is what Jake Bugg can come up with at 18, what can he do at 25, at 35, 40? There will be one major difference with most of his heroes. They were able to grow musically fast and make one or two albums each year during the first 10 years of their careers. Jake may have to wait for three years before there's a follow up to Jake Bugg. Killing for the career of young artists, I say. So, Jake, do we get to see your next effort in 2013? I honestly hope so.
You can order Jake Bugg here