Jake Bugg – ‘Saturday Night Sunday Morning’ album review by EJ Scanlan
Jake Bugg. A man who’s a piece of the entire East Midlands music scene. When his self-titled debut album was released back in 2012, it gained him nationwide attention, resulting in the record getting to Number 1 in the UK Album Charts, the first Nottingham artist to do so, a BRIT Award nomination, a Mercury Prize nomination, a sell-out UK tour, opening for Arctic Monkeys at Leeds Festival and headlined his home festival, Splendour in Nottingham, with 20,000 people cheering him on in pride of what he’d accomplished. As someone born and raised in Nottingham, who’d followed his career as a fan as it was taking off and who was at that homecoming show, trust me, Jake Bugg is historic in the local music scene.
Over the years, his popularity dropped, like a lot of artists naturally do, but he’s back with his fifth studio album, “Saturday Night, Sunday Morning”, which based on his singles, is incredibly different to his four previous sombre folk sounding records, but it’s a new musical adventure I’m optimistic for and I’m strapped in ready to enjoy the ride.
The album’s first track, “All I Need” is the start of Bugg’s departure from his older discography. The track’s repetitive, produced sensationally well and sounds like a proper advert song that you’d see in the cinema waiting for the feature presentation to load or something the BBC would play during a compilation clip of a sporting event. I dislike the choir on this however, it’s adding something to the song that it already has, and as a result, unfortunately comes across as messy in execution, though this is just a very minor criticism. The second track, “Kiss Like The Sun”, the lead track to “Saturday Night, Sunday Morning” continues the sound as previously lead by the first track, while still sounding incredibly different. These tracks give me a proper Barns Courtney vibe, with incredible American-country indie-rock vibes, and so far, I feel as though it works with Bugg.
“About Last Night” follows, in which his vocals seem incredibly influenced by old-school Morrissey, which I like a lot. Although the track isn’t as strong as the album’s previous two songs, I still heavily appreciate the sound and what he’s doing here. “Downtown” is a piano ballad, which I’d never expect to work with Bugg’s sound and vocals, and is a risk for him, but the simplistic sound and his vocals force you to listen to the beautiful lyrics that he’s written, but I don’t think the song stands out among his previous ballads, unfortunately.
“Rabbit Hole” is next up, which begins with an amazing guitar riff that makes you wait for a massive build-up, which ends up becoming my favourite build up so far this year. The song is expertly made. “Rabbit Hole” is textbook on how to create an indie-pop smash, as is the next track, “Lost”, which is one of my favourite songs of the year. Its catchy riffs, lyrics and everything else makes you get “Lost” in the song, quite literally (pun not intended). This is the perfect song to get on someone’s shoulders for at a festival, embracing the beauty of what music is, which Bugg expertly exploits with this track.
As we get over half way through the record, we move onto another ballad in the form of “Scene”, which I think works much better than “Downtown” earlier on. This is a guitar-driven country-rock ballad, showcasing the best of Bugg’s distinctive sound that he utilised so well in the past while continuing to reinvent it. That’s incredibly hard to do, and Jake Bugg does it effortlessly. “Lonely Hours” on the other hand, is a full-on indie rock track that is… shall I say it…? “Lonely Hours” may be up there with one of my absolute favourite songs of 2021 so far. This track is utter perfection. From its instrumentation to its production to Bugg’s sensational vocals, this is the track I’ve waited a very long time for. By far, this is the highlight of the record. Get me to a gig so I can mosh to this, immediately.
“Maybe It’s Today” follows, and is a simplistic blues-rock ballad that is a gorgeous track from start to finish. For me, the standout here is the song’s instrumentation; every single sound blends together perfectly well and altogether, we get a really beautiful song. This is then followed by “Screaming”, a song Bugg previewed during his Tramlines set last month, and I can see why he chose this one to perform, the song is textbook indie and its chorus is euphoric. The verses are the biggest let-down to the song though, but not to the point where it’s unlistenable, to the point where you want a little more from them. This leads to the final song of the record: “Hold Tight”, and we have one final ballad to finish off the album. The song is something you’d expect to hear on his debut album released nine years ago now (jeez, I feel old), sticking true to his routes. It’s a beautiful closer to a great record.
So what do I think about “Saturday Night, Sunday Morning”? I was expecting this to be a good record that was enjoyable for indie fans but that didn’t live up to his phenomenal debut album. Instead, we got a beautifully eclectic record that’s a natural progression for the Nottingham legend. There isn’t a track on here I fully dislike (which is very rare, read my other reviews as evidence) and it shows that many years later, Jake Bugg has still got it and that he should never be underestimated…
Other Bangers –