Duffy - Rockferry

Anne-Marie Douglas 12/03/2008

Rating: 3/5

At only 23 and having come second on the Welsh version of The X Factor in 2003, Duffy has grown in credibility remarkably fast, largely due to that phenomenal voice, a heavily Motown-influenced input from Bernard Butler to the album, and a temporarily Winehouse-crazed nation.

The Dusty Springfield comparison is hard to ignore particularly during 'Distant Dreamer', though it's a comparison that Duffy herself has only recently appreciated after a friend bought her the box set! It seems she's going places with this album…to 'Rockferry', and to ballad 'Warwick Avenue' where she proclaims that she is "leaving you for the last time baby, you think you're loving but you don't love me…I want to be free….baby, you've hurt me"; insert females in PJs or karaoke wailing and you have a scene a la Bridget Jones; note - modern woman's classic. 'Syrup and Honey' is more of the same and quite neatly describes this record; home sweet home. It wants to bring warmth and ambience to cold places…like your heart.

I'm about to be very sexist here, and I dare; this here is a woman's record, full of triumph over heartbreak and professional women's drama set to a backdrop of beautiful soul and strings. But there is something lacking for me; and it's her connection to the music. I love Motown because when a Motown artist sings a song you really feel the lyrics and it's that, in addition to a soulful voice and those heavy baselines, that make it for me, and that's what Rockferry lacks.

We can all identify with triumph over heartbreak and we can appreciate the great voice and she certainly looks the part, a modern looking '60s - much like we can appreciate the chart-topping debut single 'Mercy', using heavy Motown tune interspersed with MC Duffy. Again, an attempt at modern classic or classic with modern twist? I suspect this is what they were going for, but after three years in the making and a bunch of extremely well-written, well-polished songs, I'm still not sure this record is the real Duffy.

Released 3rd March 2008