Leigh MichaelThursday,5 December 2013

The Snap:

British singer/songwriter Jake Bugg just released his second studio album, Shangri La. Since making his debut a year ago, the young musician has been hailed as “making artisanal folk rock with Whole Foods-scale ambition.” You can snag the album on Amazon or iTunes.

The Download:

When I talked about Jake Bugg last summer, he had made his mark in the UK but was still tenderly tiptoeing into the US scene. It’s funny how quickly things can evolve.  Now, Bugg is one of the most talked-about indie artists out there, and for good reason. The guy has produced some seriously memorable music while still in his ripe teen years.

But the unfortunate truth with many young artists is that their talent is short-lived. They produce one really mind-blowing album, then sort of fizzle into nothingness.

So I was really interested to see how Shangri La turned out. I was not encouraged by the album cover (what can I say…. I’m superficial), but this is why you don’t judge by appearances. The exterior, which savored strongly of another teen male musician’s album cover, was my first glimpse into some more awesome music from Bugg.

The album starts with “There’s A Beast And We All Feed It,” a track with easygoing instruments that sandwich some impressive lyrics (that rhyme… a rare feat!). “Slumville Sunrise” is another beautiful one, as is “All Your Reasons.” The similar sound is broken up by unique tempos and tones, preventing the album from becoming requisite “background music.”

Interestingly, my least favorite track was “What Doesn’t Kill You,” which feels uncharacteristically amateur when compared to the rest of the album’s songs. It’s been getting a lot of positive reviews, however… So maybe I’m the anomaly here.

This is the kind of album that seems like a diving point. I loved it… But I have an inkling that this is just the tip of the iceberg for Jake Bugg.

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Hat Tips:

Jake Bugg, Rolling StoneNPR, Image Credit: Flickr


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