JAKE BUGG, Alexandra Palace – Evening Standard, 22 Oct 2014

In the spirit of every action having an equal and opposite reaction, Jake Bugg has flourished in a pop chart filled with dance music by writing songs on which you can almost hear the cobwebs.

He supported Noel Gallagher at gigs when he was starting out, and the 20-year-old seems to feel, like the Oasis curmudgeon-in-chief, that it’s all been downhill since The Beatles.

Strangely, such a lack of adventure has served him well in 2014, his audience at this huge show comprising both adults basking in warm nostalgia and kids who are thrilling to this sound for the first time.

Having mimicked the formula of his enemies One Direction by releasing two albums in little over a year, he had plenty of strong material to fill a substantial set. Seen It All and Trouble Town depicted the mean streets of Nottingham over forceful acoustic strumming.

His singing voice, whose most modern reference point was Lee Mavers of The La’s and more often recalled Lonnie Donegan, sounded impressive when pushed on A Song About Love.

In contrast, like Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys, his between-songs speaking voice has become an odd Elvis mumble, perhaps to draw attention away from the fact that he has little of interest to say.

The sound became more strident on Kingpin and made a rare foray into the relative future on the punky What Doesn’t Kill You. A bluesy new one, Hold on You, suggested that Bugg won’t be messing with the formula too much in the future.

There’s always an appetite for classic sounds but hopefully he’ll find a way to become his own man at some point too.