Monday, November 29, 2010

Album Review: Duffy 'Endlessly'

There's a reason why a sophmore album is labelled 'the very difficult second album'. Some artists get it right whilst others do not. That's because when you're coming off an exceptional debut, there's either a decision to stick with the same sound (it worked the first time, so why not) or change it up so audiences don't get bored. There's an equal chance of both options failing or being successful.

Here though, Duffy has cleverly decided to both change it up and keep her blue-eyed soul sound that rocketed her to stardom on her debut 'Rockferry'.
Whilst her debut was mainly ballad heavy, 'Endlessly' is a more upbeat affair. Yes, there are ballads ('Too Hurt to Dance, 'Don't Forsake Me' and 'Hard for the Heart'), but there are also tracks like the first single 'Well, Well, Well' which show this other side to her that 'Mercy' really only hinted at. Heck, she even goes a bit disco on 'Lovestruck'. I know, guys. I know. But it works. It's almost like the upbeat blue eyed soul of the 60s in a contemporary format. There's beats! And drums! And strings!

As for singles, nothing really standouts as opposed to her debut, but as an album it works well. The change in her production and writing team really shows (I believe the dance sound is ultimately due to Stuart Price's co-production on some tracks- gosh, he is getting around this year!) and while some audiences may find her uber-vibrato voice grating, I quite enjoy it. Certainly, out of her peers (Amy Winehouse and Adele) her album was by far my favourite and this second album solidifies it. My only gripe is the lack of dual epicness. On 'Rockferry' we had the title track and closed with 'Distant Dreamer' but the siblings here 'My Boy' and 'Hard For the Heart', although amazing, fall short of the grandiose aspects of the former tracks.

Verdict:A solid effort. 4 out of 5.
Key tracks: My Boy, Breath Away, Hard For The Heart, Keeping My Baby, Well, Well, Well.

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