Duffy could perhaps best be described as a blonde Amy Winehouse with fewer tattoos and a less tumultuous personal life. The Brit’s debut album strikes the same old-fashioned girl-group vibe as Winehouse’s celebrated Back to Black, with crisp modern production to match.
But such comparisons are a disservice to a young woman who has put out a record even stronger than Winehouse’s. Comparisons to Dusty Springfield are overreaching but not too far off base on this album’s extraordinary opening and closing tracks — ‘Rockferry,’ the title track, a slow builder that shows off both her vocal and songwriting chops; and ‘Distant Dreamer,’ a soaring slice of 60s pop perfection so genuine you’ll swear it must be a cover of a Ronnie Spector classic.
In between are eight strong tunes, including the hit single ‘Mercy,’ which adds a decidedly modern sound to another 60s-style gem, and nothing close to a dud.
The “problem” with an album like this is that it plays homage to the classics, and hits many of those notes itself, but doesn’t cover any new ground. I’m curious to see what other tricks Duffy has in her bag. Regardless, Rockferry is a terrific start.