Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Post Rock Archive  |  About the Bloggers  |  E-mail: Click Track  |  On Twitter: Click Track  |  RSS Feeds RSS
Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 12/ 7/2010

Album review: Duffy, "Endlessly"

By Bill Friskics-Warren

duffyDuffy expands her sound without coming off as overly-retro. (Courtesy of the artist)

It's neither accurate nor fair to describe the lush, yearning sound of the Welsh singer-songwriter Duffy as retro. Granted, this follow-up to her blockbuster 2008 debut finds her paying homage to everything from girl-group balladry to '70s Eurodisco and '80s new wave, but the record's production and beats are undeniably contemporary and always in the service of the song.

"Well, Well, Well," the album's first single, is a sleek, serrated collaboration with hip-hop band the Roots. "Lovestruck" features an acerbic string arrangement and jittery techno beats. "Keeping My Baby," with its electro-pop symphonics, nods melodically and thematically to Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach," while the nervy neo-disco of "Girl" suggests what might have happened had the Pet Shop Boys engineered a Shirelles reunion.

Duffy's pop classicism - the impulse in her music that some might consider retro - is more pronounced on "Endlessly's" handful of ballads, which account for half of the record's two- to four-minute tracks. With its weeping strings and bruised piano triplets, "Too Hurt to Dance" is a study in heartbreak, as well as a roomy vehicle for Duffy's vulnerable yet powerful vocals. The force of that voice, something that tends to be concealed by the occasional girlishness of her phrasing, is likewise notable on the torchy "Don't Forget Me" and the pining, Brenda Lee-inspired title track.

There's no unearned melodrama here. Instead, building incrementally, the slower numbers ratchet up the tension through an accretion of pathos - and, typically, to satisfying dramatic effect.

Recommended Tracks: "Well, Well, Well," "Endlessly," "Keeping My Baby"

By Bill Friskics-Warren  | December 7, 2010; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Quick spins  | Tags:  Duffy  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Smithsonian Folkways to release jazz anthology; Dismemberment Plan will play "Fallon"; Carrie Underwood wins at ACAs
Next: Album review: Deadmau5, "4x4=12"

No comments have been posted to this entry.

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company