Albums to watch

Hearts That Strain

Jake Bugg

Hearts That Strain

Fourth studio album from the English singer-songwriter, recorded in Nashville with the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach

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Virgin EMI
UK Release date
US Release date
  1. 9.0 |   The Music

    Jake Bugg has completed his transformation to mature songwriter for mature listeners
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  2. 8.0 |   The Independent

    Bugg eases gently southwards into country, soul and ‘70s retro-yacht-rock territory
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  3. 7.0 |   Uncut

    Darker and more resonant. Print edition only

  4. 6.6 |   Earbuddy

    These songs often gnaw rather than just dazzle the ear with cushy beats. McCluskey and Humphreys don’t let listeners get too comfortable
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  5. 6.0 |   The Observer

    Though the faster songs are largely throwaway, Bugg is inching closer to a sound that is both familiar and very much his own
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  6. 6.0 |   The Irish Times

    Well-wrought, subtle music, best exemplified by Waiting, a warm back-porch duet with Noah Cyrus
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  7. 6.0 |   Q

    Somehow never quite catches fire. Print edition only

  8. 6.0 |   Mojo

    How Soon The Dawn and gently rock'n'rolling I Can Burn shine. Print edition only

  9. 6.0 |   The Guardian

    Although he has, mercifully, put hip-hop to one side, this lacks the authenticity of a real raconteur
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  10. 4.0 |   Evening Standard

    Five years on from his debut – he seems to be losing his way
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  11. 4.0 |   NME

    It’s hard to see where Bugg goes from here: he’s either a man still in search of a niche or, more worryingly, locked into the wrong one
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  12. 4.0 |   The FT

    Plodding and innocuous
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  13. 3.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    All in all, the album is unremarkable, showing only rare flashes of lyrical prowess, and melodically unadventurous
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