In 2012, Jake Bugg bled the critics dry of all their hyperbole supplies due to the release of his debut album, receiving ill judged comparisons to Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash despite really sounding like a modern Creedence Clearwater Revival rip off. Bugg had the guitar chops, the sulky attitude and the dodgy suburban Nottingham upbringing to merit initial interest, but delivered songs far too polished, written with too many other people (not a good start for a budding singer-songwriter) and by album three lacked any identity of who Jake Bugg even was in the first place. As soon as James Holt’s voice kicks in on this song (and even before in the guitar and harmonica intro), the comparisons to Jake Bugg instantly come to mind. But, like the music press in 2012, these comparisons are lazy and thoughtless. Because this is simply genius.

The song jumps out with a riff straight out of Up The Bracket-era Libertines before cascading into the verses of Subterranean Homesick Blues. It sounds so filthily 1960’s, it’s difficult not to imagine a cigarette hanging out of Holt’s mouth with a copy of Please Please Me in his hand. It’s all standard rock’n’roll for 90 seconds, before Holt manages to do something that Jake Bugg is yet to do- write something interesting. Harmonically, the song doesn’t stray from a 12-bar blues but it’s treated to a luscious psychedelic meltdown, led by an acoustic guitar and some Revolver-esque guitars in the background. The song builds up to a shattering climax before the riff clatters back in followed by a ska-influenced half verse, offering a genre-spanning blues rock epic that hasn’t been perfected since some of Hendrix’s work in the 60’s.Yes, it almost unashamedly rips off Subterranean Homesick Blues. True, rock’n’roll as a genre is outdated and unfashionable. But if you’re doing something this good, who cares? By digging up the past, James Holt has laid himself out a frankly terrifyingly hopeful future. Let’s just hope I don’t eat my words in 5 years time…

Words: James Kitchen