Russell Baillie

Russell Baillie is the Herald’s entertainment editor

Album review: Jake Bugg, Shangri La

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Album cover of Shangri La.
Album cover of Shangri La.

Bugg's debut album came out in late 2012 and here's the sophomore already, perhaps showing that the 19-year-old Brit whiz kid doesn't just have an ear for the young Dylan but he's inherited Bob's early album-a-year work ethic.

That folk-rockabilly approach sure got Bugg noticed on his self-titled debut. This one, recorded under the guidance of super-producer Rick Rubin, is no giant leap from the debut. But also, it's just not as good - the songs aren't as memorable and its few efforts to widen Bugg's antique musical palette or boost his singer-songwriter approach with something more dynamic and band-like, all bring with it an odd loss of focus.

While there are tracks reminding of Bugg's way with a hearty tune over a strident acoustic strum, the first half veers towards punked-up guitars through which Bugg's distinctive whine sounds increasingly Oasis-ish (as on What Doesn't Kill You) while there are moments in the second half where on Kitchen Table and Simple Pleasures he seems to be under the influence of Rubin's regular clients the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

It's an album that works better in its more solitary moments, as on the folky shuffle of Me and You and the arms-aloft anthem of A Song About Love, though it's hard not to smile when Slumville Sunrise shifts gears from its initial Arctic Monkeys-like jagged riffery into a chorus tune that last graced You're The One That I Want from Grease and it sounds just as rousing here.


Stars: 3/5
Verdict: Young man in a hurry loses focus on second outing
Click here to buy Shangri La by Jake Bugg.

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