There’s Not Always Serenity at Shangri-La

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Jake Bugg |Shangri La|

The 19 year-old critically acclaimed Jake Bugg has more to offer with his second LP, rightfully named after the studio where his album took shape. After being nominated at the Mercury Awards for ‘Best Album’ presumably for being able to musically express his home-grown experiences with earnest tunes, Bugg seems to have more stories to share about the struggles back home.

Despite the tranquil album title, the LP opens aggressively and fast-paced adding on with Bugg’s fiery vocals concerning about our inner fury and how often we give in to it in “There’s A Beast and We All Feed It.” After clarifying callously and hurriedly about the unrefined nature of ‘slumvilles’ in “Slumville Sunrise,” Bugg goes on to be inflamed about the constant challenges life throws at you and how we just have to make our case with it and better ourselves from it in “What Doesn’t Kill You.”

The following tracks in this LP, with exception of the gritty and high-energy “Messed Up Kids,” we are reminded of Bugg’s sensitivity that endeared us in his debut album. “A Song about Love” and “Simple Pleasures” allow us to experience another side of the seclusive and shy boy. The former track covers a tenderer topic than what we’ve typically heard from him and he seems to be slightly more pessimistic about it than before- “a song about love’s just not enough.” The latter track though sounds more polished with this metallic and crisp guitar twangs that feels more soulful and grim.

It’s enjoyable to listen to the growth and sophistication of Bugg’s musical career. Shangri La may not be able to match the sincerity an spontaneity of his debut but it definitely shows that he’s growing as a musician and I’m keen to see what he’ll grow up to be in the long haul.

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