There was some pre-release criticism of this album as unoriginal and not as good as Jake Bugg's debut album. I have to say that I don't agree. I had the good fortune to receive an advance copy of this, and after listening to it a lot I think it is that rare thing: a follow-up album which is as good (or at least nearly as good) as its deservedly phenomenally successful predecessor. It doesn't have that devil-may-care freshness of the first album - but then it wouldn't because that only happens once. The production is a bit fuller and more sophisticated now, and he's widening his style a little but it's still music of real quality.
Jake Bugg's great strength is in singable songs with worthwhile lyrics, which he performs with skill and real feeling, and he does just that on this album. His fine, distinctive voice is still on great form and driving beats are still often in evidence, although there's a good variety here. There's also a variety of production styles which make the opening track, There's A Beast And We All Feed It sound like early Bob Dylan, Me And You could be from a Donovan Album from about 1968, the guitar in Messed Up Kids has strong echoes of Big Country, the instrumental work on Kitchen Table could be from John Martyn or Pentangle (and the vocal reminds me a little of Jason Isbell in places)... and so on. Personally I love all this. It's very well done and nothing sounds like a poor imitation of an original.
I genuinely think this is a very good album which shows that Jake Bugg isn't just a flash in the pan, and will cement his place in the top rank of young British musicians. Warmly recommended.