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Album Review: Jake Bugg – Hearts That Strain

2 min read
photo: EMI Music Australia

It sounds like music comes very naturally to Jake Bugg, but he has been honing his skills since he first picked up a guitar at age 12.  That hard work earned him his slot at Glastonbury Festival in 2011, when he was just 17!  Bugg’s self-titled debut album was released the following year, and 5 years on he’s already on his 4th studio album, Hearts That Strain.

With a slightly hungover looking Bugg on the cover and an endless road fading into his top, How Soon The Dawn is the perfect, relaxing start to the album.  Although it sounds a little like elevator music, his quirky voice and heartfelt lyrics such as “how soon the dawn, of love has come, and made you run” completely save the song.

The melancholy tune in Waiting takes you back in time, making it fit to stand up with any classic love song from the 70s.  Featuring on the the track is Noah Cryus, the twang in her voice adding a nice element to the song.  Bugg has given us a very gentle lullaby with this track you’ll find yourself swaying back and forth to.

Sharing the album title, Hearts That Strain has a truly western feel to it.  The quiet, steady guitar builds tension as Bugg tells the dark tale, when his character “took a life of a man with the same name.”  You can almost see the tumbleweed rolling as a menacing bell chimes out the death toll in the background.

Closing the album is the solemn Every Colour In The World, and sadly no, this is not a rendition of Disney’s Colour of the Wind from Pocahontas.  The track has a sad, bitter feel to it as the first lyrics claim “when it seems fair, it’s not sincere.”  This is far from a mood lifter, but the music will stop you in your tracks, encouraging you to dissect the meaning behind “you’ve stolen every colour in the world.”