Highlights: Lightning Bolt, Seen It All, Simple As This
Jake Bugg looks like Keith Richards (I’m mainly judging by the cover) and sounds like early Dylan (no, not again); basically, that’s all you need to know about the whole thing. If you are okay with that sort of unimaginative, but (in fact) quite inspired nostalgia – there’s no reason why you wouldn’t get some old-fashioned joy out of these 14 catchy little pieces.
The smooth garage-rock of “Lightning Bolt” starts like something off an early Stones album (however, one that is somewhat too safe and non-threatening), and when the vocals kick in – well, you hear a contemporary, friendlier, non-charismatic Dylan that is nonetheless quite charming. However maddeningly derivative, the tasteful, folk-ish singalongs like “Seen It All” and “Simple As That” are amazing, and even though you grow tired of the album somewhere around track 6 or 7, you do get to hear a couple of affecting ballads on side two, most notably “Slide” and “Someone Told Me”. Otherwise – not too exciting; one song is even entitled “Ballad of Mr. Jones”, and it is actually as bland and insipid as you would imagine.
No, don’t even try to find personality here. He might have it, Jake Bugg, but we wouldn’t know it. Essentially it is just a cute little throwback/throwaway – but I still don’t hesitate giving it a 7. Primarily because the songwriting is so good. These days if you choose to lower ratings for derivativeness, you might as well quit writing reviews altogether…