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Rockferry (Mercury)



This Welsh soul revivalist mines '60s grooves on her debut album, but she's no train wreck like last year's breakthrough white R&B singer, Amy Winehouse. Duffy and producer Bernard Butler (who played guitar with '90s Britpoppers Suede) craft an infectious set of original tunes on Rockferry that sound familiar, but still manage to surprise. The beautifully arranged "Warwick Avenue" muses over a bad breakup, as the 23-year-old singer chokes back tears while making her way through London's subways. "Mercy" kicks off with a riff cribbed from the soul classic "Stand By Me," but quickly switches to a funk-inspired groove. And "Distant Dreamer" could have been recorded by any number of the '60s girl groups that borrowed Phil Spector's Wall of Sound. Plus, on the sizzling title track, Duffy proves she can really sing.

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