mon 18/11/2019

CD: Jake Bugg - Shangri-La | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Jake Bugg - Shangri-La

CD: Jake Bugg - Shangri-La

The follow-up to the young folk-rocker's lauded debut lacks imagination

Bugg - not as authentic as he thinks he is

I have always found Bob Dylan immensely irritating, so it stands to reason that the music of folk rocker Jake Bugg, who is often compared to the poetic Sixties icon, should evoke a similar reaction. At a time when British rock is on the wane, this reedy-voiced Nottingham lad is being hailed as its rockabilly saviour, and with a number one album, multiple award nominations and a brief fling with a supermodel under his belt, he is doing his best to justify the hype.

The speed with which he has followed his self-titled debut is at least impressive. This effort, named after the legendary Malibu studios where it was recorded, was just a year in the making. If you’re a fan of Bugg’s sound then this Rick Rubin-produced 12-tracker won’t disappoint, but, if like me, you’re not a believer then it’s not about to trigger a conversion. Rubin, whose credentials include Johnny Cash, Run-DMC and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, makes his presence felt with some superior arrangements on tracks such as the high-energy, skiffle-tinged opener “There’s a Beast and We All Feed It”, but his normal Midas touch in inspiring musicians to new creativity is notably absent.

Shangri-La offers more of the same jangly, nasal pop rock which propelled Bugg into the spotlight, with the addition of some irksome social commentary on tracks such as “What Doesn’t Kill You” and “Messed Up Kids”. The influence of Brit-rock gods such as Noel Gallagher (who Bugg supported on his recent European tour) and Snow Patrol is evident on tracks such as “Simple Pleasures", with its swaggering chorus, and the rather trite “A Song About Love”, which is stuffed with indie platitudes. There’s a lack of subtlety and innovation in the songwriting, and despite Bugg publicly styling himself as the “authentic” antidote to the manufactured pop of One Direction et al, there is little here to capture the imagination. 

At a time when British rock is on the wane, this reedy-voiced Nottingham lad is being hailed as its saviour

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Editor Rating: 
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Average: 2 (1 vote)

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No doubt you will be giving One Directions new album a rave review.....boring!

"I have always found Bob Dylan immensely irritating," Which renders worthless anything you might say about almost anything... Don't give up the day job just yet.

One wonders what genre of music Serena Kutchinsky is using as a bench mark when she criticises Jake Bugg. His sound is unique and original and his songs take his fans on a journey to heaven and back. If you like music, you will love Jake Bugg.

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