Jake Bugg - Jake Bugg Jake Bugg… Going viral

Review: Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg

Published on October 26th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams

A certain amount of derivation is excusable – after all, artistic influences make for inherently stubborn stains – but is there any need for this kind of watered-down reproduction? We’re talking art-wise rather than sales-wise, because, putting the rampant popularity of both to one side, Jake Bugg is to skiffle what Mumford & Sons are to folk: a pale imitation shorn of all the jagged edges so as to make it palatable to an audience that thinks it’s hearing something new, but only because some cretin realised how much more money could be made out of a brand new artist as opposed to, say, a lovingly and knowledgeably selected compilation of genuinely authentic originals, like one of those Northern Soul packages that no-one bothers buying because the faces of the artists involved aren’t plastered all over giant posters on London Underground.

Look, Jake Edwin Kennedy is probably a really good kid for all we know, but “Country Song”? “Ballad of Mr Jones”? “Seen It All”? This is a 19-year-old from Nottingham, not some grizzled old bluesman who lives by a swamp. This debut album ‘sounds’ ‘good’, to deliberately place both words in inverted commas, but unless the next one’s drastically different then it’s hard to see how this young chap has any shelf life.

“Simple As This” and “Country Song” hint at a Tallest Man on Earth-esque fragility that may yet unfurl into something worthwhile, but otherwise it’s Britpop Hoedowns with instances of modern youth parlance shoehorned in hither and thither, including some faintly desperate-sounding drug references. Bugg’s voice will be satisfyingly raspy to some, annoyingly squawky to others, but that’s not even worth debating when it results in the kind of sickly Smooth FM-verging-on pop we hear on “Broken”.

In short, whoever dubbed Jake Bugg “the new Dylan” needs to be fired into the sun for all of our sakes. Having these homage/pastiche pieces at number 1 is certainly preferable to, say, Nickelback or One Direction, but the evolutionary net result remains the same.

Rocksucker says: One and a Half Quails out of Five!

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Jake Bugg’s eponymous debut album is out now on Mercury. For more information, please visit jakebugg.com


About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.

  • Rob M

    Get off your high horse Jon. Being a music snob doesn’t do anything to aid in the proliferation of good new music. I’m sorry to say that you’re not gonna get many more “grizzled old bluesmen” being discovered and putting out new music. Instead of searching for a reason to knock this kid down, you should be lauding a young guy who takes inspiration from the music you claim to love and adds a unique voice and some uncommon soul. What is the alternative? If you require all new music to come from some sacred and pure place that is without comparison or contradiction to other artists whether past or present, you are setting yourself up for a lot if disappointment. Jake Bugg’s music has hit a note with a lot of people who love good music and aren’t burdened by the stigma of having to hold a candle up to it to be sure it’s legit. This guy has the makings of a great new artist and I’m looking forward to his next album.