I love Jake Bugg. I think it’s really important to be out in the open about how much I love this musician (as in I own all of his albums in physical form kind of love) and because of that I am predisposed to love new music that he releases. And there’s no exception with this number given that it harkens back to the music he was doing in his first couple of albums. Not that he ever really got away from the folk-rock feel of his songs but there was certainly a lot of experimentation happening with more recent stuff that he has been working on. To angle back towards a similar sound from the beginning of his career has a kind of nostalgia to it but at the same time makes me curious as to what new experiences and new material he can bring out that separates it from what he was doing in 2012 when his music first started to be released.
There’s a wonderful swing at the beginning of this song that comes from using clapping as percussion and the little vocalizations that Bugg is doing in the background. It really create this wonderful up-beat atmosphere to start off this track.
The instrumentation on Bugg’s music is always fantastic because he has this way of getting sound out of guitars that’s just baffling to me. If you ever get a chance to see video of him playing live with an acoustic guitar, especially when he plays stuff from his self-titled album, it’s something to see. There’s a wonderful playfulness with the guitars and how they go along with the melody of the vocals and then how they play on off beats to counteract what’s being said–lots of really interesting little flourishes in the instrumentation that are subdued and not put on display.
I think one of my favourite moments in the song is the chorus when all the instrumentation gets stripped back and it’s more about the layered vocals from Bugg. When he flips into his head voice briefly at the end of a couple of the bars it’s a gorgeous sound and he rarely does it so it’s a great way of breaking up the melody of the song and adding some texture to it without doing anything crazy with the vocals.
Bugg’s music, in terms of vocals, tends to be fairly subdued in that he’s not trying to hit crazy high notes or have these long, belted notes because it’s not the style of his voice. He makes up for it with this wonderful passion and emotion that comes out in the way that he sings. There’s this kind of crying quality too when he sings “hurt you”–and goes into that head voice really quickly and seamlessly before going back into his chest range–that has this kind of regret and sorrow behind it and yet it’s not a complicated thing to accomplish from the vocal perspective.
This song is just an upbeat, fun number that makes me smile and not just because I’m really excited to get new stuff from Bugg. That being said, it’s not my favourite song by him nor do I think it shows off everything he is capable of but it’s definitely a nice track to start of with. I feel like if the folk rock genre is something that you really enjoy then Jake Bugg is one of the most talented people that is doing it right now. Maybe I’m wrong since this isn’t a genre I listen to a lot. Feel free to suggest similar artists/bands in the comments–I would love to find more music like this.