Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Jake Bugg - Taste It EP

Jake Bugg is a young singer songwriter from Nottingham who's been gaining plenty of attention as of late. He is signed to Mercury Records and he's on the Radio One A-list, this means advertisement for his debut album happens to be everywhere. His own label said of his music: "With a musical diet consisting of Dylan, Glen Campbell, Wiz Khalifa and more, its eclectic as it is unique." I must have missed something if listening Wiz Khalifa and Glen Campbell makes someone eclectic; no offence to Glen Campbell. Bugg does happen to have a powerful weapon, and if he plays his cards right he could be heading for a long and successful career.

But! Bugg happens to be 20 years too late. He wasn't even born by the time Oasis was playing their brilliant early shows. This excessive liking of bands like Oasis has to stop and Jake Bugg has to re-strategise if he wants to have a long-lasting career. Bugg strikes me as a charming chap with a story to tell, and I’m happy to listen to his stories. Being my usual cynical self, I ask myself during every review 'what are its qualities?' I usually hit the mark spot on, but sometimes I'm wrong. When reviewing artists like Jake Bugg, you can't be wrong. He's a simple artist who has managed to achieve a substantial amount of hype; I'm having none of it. I will never review a piece of music based on a popularity merit. I won’t praise something that doesn't deserve praising, even if an artist slipped me a bung.

The EP opens with one of Bugg's signature tracks, "Taste It". It's one of his best tracks to date and is the only track on this EP that will be on his debut album. I have to give credit to the tracks short two and a half minute track length, an ideal length for a singer-songwriter track. The worst thing he could do is fill an album with five minute tracks that repeat the same thing over again. Taste It isn't the most exciting Bugg track I've heard. He uses three chords for his verse, just like on many of his tracks. In my opinion, using three/four chords as a singer-songwriter only shows how ill-musically educated you are. It's alright having a respectable voice and catchy lyrics, but he needs the instrumental backing which he doesn’t have. The drumming and bass are flat and the lead guitar is predictable, aged and quite frankly too American. 

It's interesting because Bugg has a love for American country/folk. For example the second track "Kentucky", another short track with a few chords. There's a lovely rhythm, think blues and think 50s rocknroll. Ironically, there are literally hundreds of artists in America who play this type of country music down their local saloon. The fact that Bugg wears Fred Perry, is liked by Noel Gallagher and is a British mod does not make him an amazing artist. It makes him popular among the youth, specifically the 90s kids.  

"Love Me the Way You Do" is a better track in comparison to Kentucky. The progressions are far clearer and melancholy, fitting the mood of the music. I'm not a fan of Bugg's vocal, though I know others may be. Some critics merit him on his voice; I just can't hear anything spectacular. He can hit the high notes but he sounds too much like Liam Gallagher and tries to sound like Bob Dylan too much. "Green Man" is just as melancholy but doesn't have the musical structure, at all. It's a massive downfall for this EP because the previous three tracks, although average and basic, they actually are respectable tracks. Green Man sounds rushed and the production lacks character.

This EP doesn't tell me anything about Bugg. I've heard these tracks before both on YouTube and live, they don't offer me anything but a reason to listen to Bugg's debut album. And that's what this EP is intended for, promotion. It's a pre-release EP highlighting Taste It with three tracks that didn't cut the album. With this logic, those tracks on the album must be of better quality than the three other tracks on this EP, right? I hope so anyway. I do want Bugg's debut album to expand on his simple folk rock music because I don't think I could sit through 40 minutes of a Nottingham man singing rather average tracks.


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