Published September 1, 2009
“I’ve come to say exactly what I mean,” sings Pug on the statement-of-intent opener, Hymn #101, “And I mean so many things.” That tale of stubbornness, love and adventure showcases the 23-year-old’s inherent knack of framing a raw and
emotive acoustic-country with often self-searching lyrics. It’s poetic, too: Call It What You Will’s resonant imagery and matter-of-fact descriptions of life-changing experiences are simple, brilliantly observed and shruggingly fatalistic as you like. The influence of Springsteen’s expansiveness reigns supreme in Nobody’s Man and the excellent I Do My Father’s Drugs, whilst the blues harp-driven Hymn 35 sounds a lot like Fields Of Gold as sung by Bob Dylan. The fact that the harmonica is probably deliberately flat (as it is on the EP-ending title track) adds atmosphere. Emotive and naked, independent and occasionally hard-eyed, Pug’s uncomplicated arrangements give him authenticity and power.
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