“IT’S NOT A F**KING GAME, JAKE! This is f**king real, Jake!” bellows a threatening voice by way of introduction to Jake Bugg’s new video for What Doesn’t Kill You. A few seconds earlier, the Nottingham-born 19-year-old explains the streetwise inspiration behind the tune, referring to “stabbings in car parks” before delivering a first verse detailing a tale of everyday mugging.
Shot in black and white and featuring Bugg in a sparse, white room, the video is direct and matches the febrile intensity of the song which, musically speaking, sits somewhere between the Arctic Monkeys at their most poignant and The Only Ones at their most romantic. Bugg himself is clad in a black biker jacket, his collar raised – seemingly against the world.
Bugg has completed work with producer Rick Rubin at his Malibu studio but What Doesn’t Kill You suggests his approach remains unmellowed and unashamedly British. Currently on tour in the US where he has already solicited gushing praise from press and radio alike, Bugg’s second album – named after Rubin’s studio, Shangri-La – is due out on November 18. It can be pre-ordered on vinyl as well as other assorted formats here. Meanwhile, What Doesn’t Kill You is out now.