Blast from a past

cd choice: pop

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music Reviews -

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

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