Shangri La – Jake Bugg

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Two years ago, Nottingham, England’s Jake Bugg was unsigned and relatively unknown. His self-titled debut album entered the charts at number one, and barely a year later he’s returned with the slightly edgier Shangri La. Right from the first track, Bugg commands attention. His voice is youthful, and some, but not all, of his lyrics are reflective of his age (he is 19). The 12 songs range from grungy country rock and toe-tapping folk tunes to sensitive ballads, with a light dusting of hillbilly punk. The production is clean, allowing Bugg’s vocals to rise above the background music. Standout tracks include the mellow “Me And You,” “Messed Up Kids,” and the catchy uptempo “There’s A Beast And We All Feed It.”

Rating: ★★★½☆
-Michelle McChristie