Yet another young British soul diva, this time from Wales, 23-year-old Aimee-Ann Duffy has already been heralded as this year’s Amy Winehouse: State is still figuring out what was wrong with the old one (if someone can keep her fit and well, La Winehouse should be able to transcend her Back To Black album for some time to come). The comparisons with either Amy or Adele stink of laziness. OK, so there is a certain smoky Dusty-bowl feel to this album from the former Wawffactor contestant (a Welsh Pop Idol-type show), and the arrangements wouldn’t seem out of place on either Motown or Stax, but there’s a lot more going on here than, say, Joss Stone.
The proof is in the writing, or in this case the co-writing: Duffy’s collaborators include Suede-head Bernard Butler, Jimmy Hogarth (who also works with KT Tunstall), and uber-successful scribes-for-hire Steve Booker and Eg White (who between them have written for Natalie Imbruglia, Lindsay Lohan and, ahem, Marti Pellow). Whoever she’s writing with, however, it’s Duffy’s delivery that’s the real star, her vocals oozing a world-weariness that belies her tender years, particularly on the slow-burning title track and the infectious -Serious’. Indeed, only the closing -Distant Dreamer’ smacks of over-reach.
From the full-on dancefloor stomp of -Mercy’ to the inevitable tear-jerkers -Syrup & Honey’ and -I’m Scared’, Rockferry exudes confidence, sassiness and, above all, a sense of tuneful soulsmithery that should be bothering the charts for most of 2008.
Duffy – Mercy