Album: Jake Bugg, Jake Bugg (Mercury)


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The Independent Culture

A youthful troubadour following in Ed Sheeran's footsteps, Jake Bugg brings a scrappily engaging rockabilly intensity to catchy folk rants like the single "Lightning Bolt" and the smalltown escape anthem "Two Fingers", his simple strum'n'drum arrangements allowing his sharp, piercing voice to cut through unhindered.

There's a world-weariness to some of his songs that's as attractive now as ever, and in some cases not unearned: in "Seen It All", he recounts firsthand evidence of the violence seeping into youth culture, while several songs deal with a lifestyle pockmarked with booze and drug abuse. But there's a consolatory tenderness to songs like "Note To Self" and "Simple As This" that's entirely in keeping with his Bohemian skiffle style.

Download: Lightning Bolt; Seen It All; Note To Self