fri 24/01/2020

CD: Jake Bugg – On My One | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Jake Bugg – On My One

CD: Jake Bugg – On My One

The distinctive singer struggles to find a unique voice

An album cover that practically screams "British summertime"

After two albums in rapid-fire quick succession, 2012’s eponymous debut and its 2013 follow-up, Shangri-La, Jake Bugg could be forgiven for taking a little longer to get his third out into the world. There was talk of working with the Beastie Boys’ Mike D, of taking risks, and rumours were of something darker, different and more diverse.

Feburary’s unveiling of the new album’s title track, “On My One”, gave no such sense of a shift. Although Bugg reigned in the worst excesses of his nasal tones, it was familiar and surprisingly safe ground. Then, barely a week later, “Gimme the Love” arrived, and with it, comparisons to the Stone Roses. However, any aping of King Monkey and co was almost entirely unsuccessful. There is no roll to its rock, no shuffle in its groove, and it strode out of the speakers with all the charm of Kasabian playing a stag do for cash.

It fell into a conspicuously and unsuccessfully derivative furrow, as does much of On My One. It would be easy to dismiss, for instance, “Love Hope and Misery” as The Last Shadow Puppets fronted by Alvin and the Chipmunks, but in fact it takes us squarely down the middle of many roads, all of which, sadly, lead to Peter Cetera.

Elsewhere, Bugg practically covers America on “Love We’re Hoping For”, attempts to channel Marvin Gaye on “Never Wanna Dance” and it all ends up sounding worryingly like an eager-to-please mimic trying to convince us of his range for an ad on local radio. They're pleasant enough, but for someone with such a distinctive tone, it seems Bugg’s got some way to go before he finds his voice.

While the rock stomp of “Bitter Salt” briefly raises his game, and our expectations, it’s followed by the car-crash hip hop of “Ain’t No Rhyme”. This is where Bugg stops being derivative, opting instead for arse-clenchingly embarrassing: his irregular and halting pentameter proving that he's no more qualified to rap than a horse is to give fixed-term mortgage advice. The good news is that it doesn’t get any worse, but then I’m not entirely sure it could.

It all ends up sounding worryingly like an eager-to-please mimic

rating

Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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