Jake Bugg’s ascension in the UK has been stratospheric to say the least. A Glastonbury slot at the age of just 17 lead to a major label deal, and his self-titled debut went straight to the top of the charts in his home country.

The fresh faced teen’s influences – which range from Donovan to Bob Dylan to Oasis – are about as obvious as the colour of the sky.

With songs that bring the 50s era into 2012, but which also take cues from well known British guitar driven pop music, Bugg’s eponymous debut has immaculate recording quality.

All of which has the potential to bring out the cynic in anyone on first listen.

But undeniably, there’s something about this album that you can’t quite shake. While it’s incredibly imitative of its influences, the songs here have too much potential to ignore.

Then there’s Bugg’s songwriting. While much of the first half of this 40 minute album can at times remind you of Alex Turner’s wit from The Arctic Monkeys’ debut, the latter and stronger half demonstrates a tender side to the 18 year old.

There are plenty of memorable lines to grab onto. “I drink to remember, I smoke to forget” he sings on ‘Two Fingers’ or more frankly on ‘Seen it All’; “One Friday night I took a pill or maybe two”.

The lyrics not only give evidence to Bugg’s less than glamorous upbringing, but his candid storytelling, which is easily the album’s greatest asset.

But for all the hype surrounding this release, he also shows his age with his words. His years are partly the reason behind this album’s early acclaim.

While his first effort is a strong offering, it isn’t quite as accomplished as many might have you believe.

It simply proves the talent and huge potential that Jake Bugg will hopefully one day fulfil.

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine