I wrote about Sam Fender last year when he was just starting to make a name for himself and now he has hit number one in the UK with his debut album Hypersonic Missiles. How did he do it? Label executives have heralded Fender as the second coming of Bruce Springsteen. Early days perhaps for such lofty comparisons, but there are similarities between the young man raised on a council estate in North Shields, England and the Bard of New Jersey. Both men tell stories with vivid, raw lyrics that do not shy away from serious social issues. Considering Fender is only 25, that is pretty impressive. The songs also have a kind of “Bruce-meets-I-got-my-first-six-string-Bryan-Adams” feel. They definitely rock, although the structure of the songs is pop, with choruses ringing out thick and fast over pulsating drums and ringing guitars, but the overall sound is quite retro considering rock music is on the wane. But the key element for me – as it so often is – is Fender’s brooding voice. You feel, like Springsteen and Adams, that no matter how heavy the band, his voice will only rise to the occasion and carry the lyrics, above the noise and into our hearts.