Jake Bugg’s last album, On My One (2016),was an ill-advised bid to engage with a new crowd. The Nottingham singer’s fourth set, recorded in Nashville, abandons the rapping and Kasabian-friendly rock in favour of dusty country-folk. Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys contributes to three tracks and Miley Cyrus’s sister Noah duets on Waiting, but Bugg is most convincing when his guests take a back seat. The delicate title track, which evokes Bert Jansch, is rich in imagery and bristles with intent. And though the faster songs are largely throwaway, Bugg is inching closer to a sound that is both familiar and very much his own.
Jake Bugg: Hearts That Strain review – a rootsier return
Paul Mardles is a subeditor on the Observer New Review