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Man, I’ve had it up to here – trashed my hopes and fed my fears ,” spits Jake Bugg on ‘Instant Satisfaction’’ – the polemic centre-piece that gives its name to the Nottingham troubadour’s fiery and engaged sixth album: ‘A Modern Day Distraction’. “And if it was up to me, I’d wish away all the greed – how much do we really need?


As Bugg puts it, it’s a punchy state-of-the-nation lament for the most in-need, looking for anything to lift them out of the pummeling trudge of the everyday. “We’re taught as young children that we’re supposed to be equal, then you grow up and realise we’re not,” says Bugg. “People choose not to point the finger where it should be pointed. Instead, they go for the easier target. That’s unjust to me. In Britain, you get punched in the face and go, ‘Ah, that’s the way it is’. You’re supposed to suck it up and get on with life. ‘It could be worse’, they say.”  


Refusing to bury his own head in the sand, Bugg’s back with a return to his roots on the shamelessly rock-driven ‘A Modern Day Distraction’ – a record that turns up the noise while shining a light on the injustice he’s seen dealt to the family and friends he grew up with. 


His previous album, 2021’s glitterball shimmer of the pop-leaning ‘Saturday Night, Sunday Morning,’ saw Bugg looking to the dancefloor for a little escapism. Now, he’s back down on Earth. “The last record was fun, but it showed me more of what I should be doing – and that’s going back to the things I love and enjoy the most. I feel like I’m more in my element on this record.”

You hear that off the bat with the manifesto-setting launch single ‘Zombieland’. A bone-crunching Beatles-via-Nirvana riff sees in a rollicking ode to the many broken by the inescapable daily grind, trudging on with a stiff upper lip: “He knows the price he has to pay,” warns Bugg on the chorus. “It hurts but he’s too proud to say”.