This album has had very mixed reviews, so I was bracing myself for a big disappointment. However, and this is only my opinion, I absolutely love it. I can't find any fault. Musical taste is very personal, so I can't advise anyone to go out and buy it, but I'm so glad I did.
It was never going to be easy to follow up an album like Jake Bugg's self entitled folksy debut, but 'Shangri La' must have been my most anticipated album of the year. We got a taster of album number two with the singles 'Slumville Sunrise' and 'What Doesn't Kill You', unveiled last month, and I couldn't wait to hear all of it.
I did think that it wouldn't quite live up to it's predecessor, and after the first hearing, I was still of that opinion, but after repeated listens, I can't give 'Shangri La' anything less than five stars. It IS a very good album, and worth the thirteen month wait. Some critics have said that it sounds a little "rushed", but not to me. For a nineteen year old, I have to say that this strong album is quite amazing in it's maturity.
Jake's musical influences are still clearly there, and to be compared the likes of such legends as Bob Dylan must surely be an honour, but the production is now more sophisticated, more harder, and the style of songs are much more varied, with Jake's fast vocals effortlessly complementing his unique style.
Highlights on the record include the tender ballad 'Me and You', the observational 'Messed Up Kids', where Jake reflects on his old surroundings, he recently revealed that after everything that's happened to him, he feels like somebody from the outside, looking into his city and it's fellow working class youngsters from a different perspective, 'What Doesn't Kill You', and the lovely 'Pine Trees', which conquers up wonderful imagery when you listen it.
I think it might still early days for me to decide yet, but I do think that 'Shangri La' could possibly overtake Jake's debut in my musical affections. Despite him not yet reaching twenty, and only releasing two albums to date, I believe that Jake Bugg has already left a considerable legacy of quality music behind him. The future looks good - very good.
I pre-ordered this CD because I love his first one so much. This latest offering is just as good! This young lad will go on to great things. I am going to stop now as it feels all wrong waxing lyrical about a boy of 19 when you are a 66 year old granny!
Jake bugg is amazing loved the first album this is equally as good tho different. No filler tunes on here went too see him live also and he was tremendous. Favourites hard to pick probably There's a beast, messed up kids, kingpin and storm passes away. In fact I'm off to go listen to it again now can't get enough.
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.
This album is as good as the first and appeals to all ages which includes myself (the wrong side of 40) and both my daugters 14 and 17, its played in the car constantly, our favourite tracks would be slumville sunrise, What doesn't kill you and Simple pleasures. Hopefully, as Jake Bugg is still such a young talent, there will be plenty more music to come.