Saturday Night, Sunday Morning by Jake Bugg: Wise music for pandemic paranoia.
Since Two Fingers, he’s come a long way, and not necessarily in the right direction.
Restless Jake dabbled in dance rhythms and country after being dubbed Nottingham’s “council estate Bob Dylan” but never matched the sales of his superb self-titled 2012 debut album.
But, as his earworm single All I Need from last year demonstrated, Bugg is still a fantastic artist who is very much his own man.
On the bouncy track, he sings, “Call me cynical, but original, trying to fit into a world that’s so digital,” adding, “Came to let you know, I left the pigeonhole” – ostensibly to establish his niche in smart indie-pop.
This, Jake’s fifth album, is named after Alan Sillitoe’s (another Nottingham boy) 1958 novel, which inspired a cult hit working-class kitchen sink film before most of Jake’s fans were born.
Bugg, whose hair is a mix of Britpop and Mod from the 1960s, is influenced by the past but not bound by it.
His tunes are creative and catchy, and they feel very modern.
Downtown is a captivating ballad, sweet, fantastic, and tailor-made for pandemic paranoia, as he tells a loved one to “join me downtown… you’ll never be alone.”
Rabbit Hole is a deeper, hotter, danceable grunge that leads to an unknown Wonderland: “Gonna go out of my skull… just to get by.”
All I Need is a harder track with a driving beat and a narrative: “Drunk with desire/Ten shots of fire.”
About Last Night is a film about envy. The single dance music, Lost, is swirlingly sensuous and poppy, and it’s about obsession and heartbreak. Chopping Jam-era chords are channeled in Lonely Hours.
None of these sophisticated yet diverse songs let you down.
Jake has pulled another rabbit out of the hat at the ripe old age of 27. You can’t swat the youngster away because he’s a Bugg.