Jake Bugg review: A young songwriter grows up fast

Hearts that Strain
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Artist: Jake Bugg
Genre: Singer / Songwriter
Label: Virgin/EMI

There's a whiff of the music industry not really knowing what to do with Jake Bugg. The 23-year-old Nottingham songwriter started well in 2012 with a self-titled debut that marked him out as a one-man Arctic Monkeys, but subsequent albums (2013's Shangri La, 2016's On My One) easily highlighted his shortcomings. Throwing experienced cowriters (Iain Archer, Brendan Benson) and big-name producers (Rick Rubin, Jacknife Lee) at him didn't help matters, either.

Things might shift, however, with Bugg’s fourth album in five years (he is nothing if not enthusiastic). The vibe is country and soul, a Nashville-meets-Detroit blend (backing is provided by superlative session players) that suits Bugg’s soft singing style.

Think well-wrought, subtle music, best exemplified by Waiting, a warm back-porch duet with Noah Cyrus (younger sister of Miley), and the rippling, psychedelia-tinged folk-pop of In the Event of My Demise.

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea

Tony Clayton-Lea is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in popular culture