Release Date: May 13, 2008
Record label: Mercury
Review Summary: This particular precocious British soul starlet turns out to be worth the hype. It's surely redundant at this point to draw attention to the fact that popular music moves in circles. Revivalism against invention, modernism against postmodernism, acclaim against mass appeal, innovators against followers - one of the best things about popular music is that all these forces work against each other without ever really syncing up in any meaningful way, which allows people to follow their own paths and create their own identity by judging for themselves where they stand in relation to these forces.
Those tempted to dismiss Duffy as only the latest pair of false eyelashes to straggle through the British neo-soul parade owe it to themselves to listen to Rockferry. More authentic than Joss Stone if not as honest as Amy Winehouse (both of these are good things), Duffy may be the best choice of all, whether it's because of or despite the fact that she lacks the force of personality that Winehouse has built her career on, from "F**k Me Pumps" to "Rehab. " Duffy's voice can go from angelic to devilish within a few bars, and what she lacks in power and richness (her voice is a little pinched in the higher registers), she easily makes up for in the subtleties and sweetness of her vocal craft, and her ability to carry a ballad with the right combination of drama and flair.
She won second place in the Welsh version of American Idol, and 23-year-old singer/songwriter Duffy has been compared to Amy Winehouse, not only because their sweet soul voices are similar, but because her songs are all catchy don’t-take-any-shit ballads. Duffy purrs and belts it out with doo-wop sentiment and a classic girl-group lilt, and this vintage familiarity makes the album pretty easy to listen to. At this point, however, the movement of white UK female artists using 60s nostalgia to reinvent pop music is not all that original, but at least it’s a welcome break from the previous trends.
She may lack Amy Winehouse’s saltiness and snarl, but the Welsh singer Duffy’s sweeter vocals still crackle with soul. ”Mercy” — a U.K. hit ready-made for U.S. radio — is a go-go number that’s as sassy as a Mary Quant miniskirt. And when Duffy slows the tempo for ”Rockferry” and .
Billed as the next Amy Winehouse, oh-so-blond Aimee Anne Duffy snores coffee-shop product. Debut LP Rockferry, written with Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, attempts to smooth Winehouse's edges via a straightedge singer and former contestant on Welsh megahit Wawffactor. Wanna guess the show's premise? Vanilla as it is carbon, Rockferry opens with its promising title track, a lilting, 1960s orchestra seduction, but as the octaves rise, Duffy cracks.