Blast from a past
cd choice: pop
DUFFY Rockferry A&M
Coming second in the Welshlanguage version of Pop Idol throws up all sort of hideous images, but Aimee Duffy (she only ever uses her surname) may well go on to become the most important ex- Pop Idol name.
Duffy, just 24, got her musical education from watching old video copies of the 1960s pop series Ready Steady Go. She soon developed a belting and bruised voice that brought her to the attention of Rough Trade records, who drafted in Bernard Butler to produce this debut release.
Much is being made of the so-called Duffy vs Adele pop war. But while the latter imbues her material with all forms of contemporary and “street” flourishes, one of the most striking aspects of Rockferry is that it sounds as if it could have been recorded anytime over the past few decades.
To showcase Duffy’s incredible vocal strength, Butler has put together arrangements that wouldn’t be out of place on either Tamla Motown records or Phil Spector productions. It’s this sort of backing that really allows Duffy to do the slow-build thing before nailing the high notes – most notably on the title track.
The Dusty Springfield comparisons are already been thrown around with abandon. It’s true that there are certain tonal similarities, but what’s most impressive is how Duffy can adjust her register to suit the demands of the songs. Just listen to the way she wraps herself around the superlative Warwick Avenue, rather than climbing over it.
This album will transport you back to a time of Panda eyeliner, beehive hair and torch singing par excellence. At a time when female singers seemingly prize raunch and bling over really delivering a vocal, Rockferry is a thoroughly refreshing blast of retro-tinged white soul. A stunning new talent. www.iam duffy.com BRIAN BOYD
Download tracks: Rockferry, Warwick Avenue