As we approach the end of our Mercury 2013 reviews, I have been asked to pick this one up. When this first came out at the end of last year, the Nottingham native made number one in the UK Charts and when it was eventually released in the USA, it made a respectable number 75 and for a debut album that is a good result for both him and his marketing department. Over the last couple of years he has graced the stage at Glastonbury, been an a plethora of TV shows in the UK, released seven singles in the UK and had support slots with the likes of Noel Gallagher (ex-Oasis) and been on his own successful tours. For someone who is only 19 at the time of writing this article, he has had a very good start to his career; but does that mean that this album is any good?
Musically, this man has owes a lot to a record collection from the 70's. This man could not have his influences on his sleeves more unless he was a member of Oasis. The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Donovan, The Everly Brothers; honestly it is not as bad as Oasis when they stole their songs like thieves in the day light, but it is hardly the most original music out there. The songs here are of a gentle and easy nature, there is nothing that would offend the gentlest of souls (unless you find this type of music to be offensive in its lack of anything resembling a spine). Now I love gentle albums at time, but this is not going anywhere in a hurry, it is unoriginal in origin and my deity it does nothing to make time move. I can see why songs like "Broken", "Simple As This" and "Ballad Of Mr Jones" are popular, there is nothing wrong in the writing or the actual delivery; it would be better if there was something wrong with the delivery, I would feel better for the rest of what I am going to say.
When an album can make Badly Drawn Boy and Newton Faulkner look edgy and dangerous, there is something wrong with the world. Trying to be retro is all fine and well, and I can see where this was going. Some of the songs are ok; "Lighting Bolt" is a quirkily little number, "Two Fingers" is ok and "Taste It" is a little bit of a foot stomper. But these are the first three songs out of a fourteen track album, and it get more monotone as the album goes on; there is no pick up and this is one of the albums that is being hailed as a forerunner for the Mercury Prize. If that is the case, then the British music scene needs a drip and some medical attention, as it has just over dosed. There is better stuff that this out there, a lot of it was not nominated and as much as I don't want to sound negative, this is a case of a creative management team doing wonders with the dull and lifeless.
3 out of ten - Not for everyone but played well
You can purchase the album from Amazon here
You can visit the Jake Bugg website here
You can listen to the album on Spotify here, which also has a live session at the end of the album
Here is the official video to "Lightning Bolt"