The End of Comedy, Michael Collins’ first record under the moniker Drugdealer, was a promising turn away from a messy early career which seemed to have him grounded in fuzzy, inconsequential experimentalism. The songwriter, who claims never to have played a musical instrument before he began experimenting with tape sounds in 2009, tossed off an idiosyncratic record of warm, California pop with a few magical moments. His follow up continues the upwards trajectory.

For a musician who says he taught himself how to write "traditional" songs in the space of a few years, the first Drugdealer record was a significant step forward on his stoner projects Salvia Plath and RUN DMT, which flirted with the most annoying element of messy psychedelia; the suspicion that making music is somehow easy on drugs. The End of Comedy may have been his first "serious" album, but it held onto the Ariel Pink philosophy of never getting too real – or too complicated.

On Raw Honey, Michael Collins has taken a wire brush to the rougher edges of his stoner aesthetic, and the resulting collection has the air of a drifter that flushed his stash, bought a new suit and tie and went straight as a real estate agent.

‘Lonely’ is the country rock hit Ringo Starr could never write; all honky-tonk piano and two part harmonies, a perfect throwback to 1976, dusty corduroy and Pabst Blue Ribbon. ‘Fools’ recalls Clapton’s Slowhand with its tastefully upholstered mix and plush soul. ELO even get a pitch perfect shout out on ‘If You Don’t Know Now, You Never Will’.

All this MOR could easily become boring, but Collins manages to maintain interest even despite his self aware, half-assed delivery. Perhaps it’s the fact that the band he has put together, including TOPS’ Jackson MacIntosh and guest spots from the Roy Orbison-alike Dougie Poole and Natalie Mering of Weyes Blood, is so top notch. If Collins really isn’t much of a musician, he’s found an unlikely band of desperados willing to indulge his fantasies. ‘Wild Motion’ could be the great comeback record by a resurrected Orbison; the simplicity and edge of the arrangement is that good. The urgent ‘Honey’ repeats the trick.

I’m not 100% convinced that Raw Honey will find a large audience this side of the Atlantic. More than the sum of its influences, it nevertheless feels so much like a record created by a UK band in awe of the United States. Ironically then the only real misstep is ‘London Nightmare’ and the album’s overall slightly haphazard structure, which blazes through track after track of gloriously tailored pop before fizzling a little after track 7.

Collins says he aims to "cultivate influences and espouse reverence" – glorying in the clarity of his forebears. Nothing wrong with that, if you can deliver something weightier than a parody. Much of his new album easily rises above that plain; lifted, it seems, as much by his spirit as the talent of his collaborators.

The second Drugdealer album isn’t quite the knockout it could have been, but it easily delivers on the promise of Collins’ debut. If his idea is to let this latest incarnation stick around for a while, we’re in for a real treat.