November Review: Albums

Jake Bugg – Two Fingers

There’s little chance of you not having heard this name if you tune in to BBC Radio One at all regularly. First listening to Lightening Bolt, we mentally jumped up and slapped our thighs- here was a youthful blend of Bob Dylan and Jack White. Bugg is British but his sound is worldly. ‘Trouble Town’ will conjure up images of restless kids lying out in Southern heat, sipping on  soda floats and smoking stolen cigarettes. Lyrics remind you he’s talking about growing up on the streets of Nottingham. grew up on what was once Europe’s largest council estate.  ‘Stuck in speed bump city where the only thing that’s pretty is the thought of getting out’. It’s debatable where he got the Johnny Cash drawl from, but quite frankly, we don’t care.

His single, ‘Taste It’ is where he really comes into his own, relying less on country influences and sheds any signs of immaturity, feeling of young artist feeling in the dark. Brings in indie, think Arctic Monkeys and I can’t remember the last time I listened to something so genuinely impressive from someone so young.

Lucy Rose – Like I Used To

She has her waif-like, feathery vocals over fluid guitar and fluttering beats and, just in terms of musicality, it is wonderful to listen to.  However, Lucy Rose offers more than just aural delight in her music – it is her incredibly honest lyricism that really draws the listener in.  ’Like I Used To’ feels a lot like eavesdropping on a really private, intimate conversation; it’s shy and awkward but somehow confident and forthright at the same time. In ‘Night Bus’ there are simple but surprisingly touching phrases like “She takes the night bus home; she’s not phased by the darkness in her soul”.  There are rich and warming brushes of brass in ‘Shiver’, and, again, some lovely, poignant moments of lyricism (“if we turned back time, would we learn to live right?”).  Latest single, ‘Bikes’ (above), is more of a joyous, summery number, while the final track, ‘Be Alright’ brings to mind the singsong nursery rhyme romance of The Smiths’ ‘Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want’, with some really endearing hesitance and awkwardness in her declaration of love.

Wild Swim – ECHO

Admittedly, there’s something vaguely reminiscent of the stunning build-up of ‘Spanish Sahara’ in the debut EP from Oxford’s Wild Swim.

Single ‘Echo’ is full of rich, swooning vocals and an ambient atmosphere that seems to melt and effervesce around your ears and then crescendo into a spacey almost-operatic climax.  The self-produced ‘Bright Eyes’, meanwhile, is jerky and minimalist and full of light, pretty beats which interlace perfectly with the warmth of the baritone vocals.  Their music seems to float back and forth between more conventional sounding alt-rock into strange, glitchy electro without much regard for convention and, perhaps surprisingly, it really does work. The EP is short but sweet, leaves you longing for more. Based on the strength of these tracks alone, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that Wild Swim are going to go far. Our only question is: how long do we have to wait for more material?!