Experimental feature

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Experimental feature

Jake Bugg blazed his way out of Nottingham last year with tales of council estate life, set not to gritty hip-hop or loud rock but the vintage sound of skiffle.

It was a weird act of revivalism – who knew today’s teens had even heard of skiffle? – but there was Bugg channelling Lonnie Donegan alongside other antique influences (a Don McLean song inspired him to take up the guitar). Youthful verve carried the day: Bugg’s debut went on to sell 1m copies and won him a Brit award. Now comes the speedily recorded follow-up which teams him with US super-producer Rick Rubin, whose Malibu studio gives Shangri La its name.

The first track is the skiffle-tastic “There’s a Beast and We All Feed It”, accessorised with snarling British Invasion guitars. Their activation hints at Rubin’s role in getting Bugg to rock out, as he duly does on “Slumville Sunrise”, which casts him as a pasty-faced 1960s rhythm-and-blues bad boy, and “Kingpin”, which imagines him as a young Liam Gallagher. It’s derivative but has a certain swaggering charm; enough to allow one to forgive the absurd old-timey country accent he adopts on “Storm Passes Away”.

Jake Bugg

Shangri La

(Virgin EMI)

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