Sound — 7
Despite some beautiful string arrangements, the quality of musicianship on the band's part is rather lacking. There's no real 'feel' to the music although the standard of material is very high. I think someone somewhere made some very good decisions on what tracks should be released as singles as these songs are by far the best on this album. The overall sound of the release is very soulful yet has a very bluesy twang. Duffy's vocal performances are spot on every track and many (including myself) find her tone and phrasing rather 'soothing'.
Lyrics — 8
Although some vocal notes put your back up a bit, you really feel what Duffy is trying to put across. She isn't flat and certainly isn't sharp but certain interval clashes result in some tracks being deficient of 'listenability'. There is no doubt about Duffy's vocal talent, even her live performances are pitch perfect and I truly believe that she outshines a certain 'Winehouse' of whom she is criticised of 'ripping off'. The lyrics themselves are typical pop lyrics but are delivered in a way that only Duffy could. Who said that soul music was a thing of the past?
Overall Impression — 7
So she's no Aretha Franklin but Duffy has made a branch of soul all by herself. It's almost a different ball game. This album is far from a let down although the singles released led me to believe that the rest of the album is of such a high standard, it isn't but after all, that's what singles are for right? 01. Rockferry - a nice song but is certainly not one of the highlights. 02. Warwick Avenue - my personal favourite. One of the few tracks that has some musical feel to it. 03. Serious - more of a pop record than anything. Little bit 'Spice-girly'. 04. Stepping Stone - another good song with a really soulful vibe. 05. Syrup And Honey - probably the most soulful track on here. Nice lyrics and a twisted and altered twelve-bar. 06. Hanging On Too Long - nice string arrangement but I can't put my finger on what I don't like. 07. Mercy - the one everyone knows! Great tune, great lyrics and the vocal performance is out of this world. 08. Delayed Devotion - again, nice and soulful but just has a certain something missing. 09. I'm Scared - a rather nice tune, well written with nice lyrics and chords following the melody, or is that the other way around? 10. Distant Dreamer - what appears to be a bit of an anti-climax at first turns into a wonderful song wrapping up the album nicely. I got this for her voice and I was not disappointed it's beautiful, so I'm happy but as good as the songs themselves are, none of them really hit he on a personal level like a soul record should. Remember that the album was promoted well with most of the best tracks becoming available on single release but if you enjoyed them I would suggest you give the whole thing a go. If you didn't, don't touch this with a barge pole. I think people are cut down the middle on Duffy. Love her or hate her you can't fault her voice. I do find that certain tracks grow on you somewhat until you love the whole album! Lets hope this potential talent doesn't get a case of the dreaded 'second album curse'. But for some reason I don't think she will. I think we haven't heard the last of Duffy for a very, very long time.