We may have invented it, but as with many things (rock & roll, punk, house), we've no choice but to accept that the British do soul music as well as we do, often better. See Alice Russell, whose fierce remake of the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" in 2006 began a lively run through the UK rare groove DJ scene. Her fifth set, To Dust, works Russell's exquisite taste for beats and atmosphere into some of her strongest songs.
There is currently a plethora of female vocalists tearing up the UK, and indeed international, music scenes. Big of voice, strong of character, no matter what you think of the actual music there is no denying that these multi-talented female musicians are currently ruling the roost. We had Amy Winehouse, now we have Adele. Coming up strong on the outside, Brit darling Emeli Sandé is sweeping all before her, and taking her first, and hugely acclaimed steps we have Laura Mvula.
With due respect to fans of Amy Winehouse and Adele, songstress Alice Russell is the true blue-eyed soul queen from across the pond. The Essex singer has been around longer than either. Despite four previous albums, she's better known as a collaborator. Her résumé includes work with Mr. Scruff ….
If anything, Alice Russell is consistent. The UK soul singer-songwriter is now on her fifth studio album, but crossover success (à la soul-inspired contemporary Adele) has largely eluded her. No matter, Russell is clearly committed to a purer strain of "blue-eyed" R&B — To Dust is unabashedly so. In fact, discard the "blue-eyed" tag altogether; Russell embodies American soul in a richly authentic way.
Russell deserves to move from cult concern to a queen of British soul. Adam Kennedy 2013 While post-millennial musical trends seem to increasingly favour celebrating the new over those playing the long game, clearly nobody informed Alice Russell. To Dust, the British soulstress' fifth solo record in a little under a decade, is the culmination of a slow-blooming development from cult concern into something rather noteworthy.