Adele: 19

Soulful, streetwise debut from the much-hyped Tottenham chanteuse.

Adele Adkin has a shrill voice and an awkwardness to her delivery, but that’s what makes her intriguing. At times she sounds like a smooth Southern soul belle, at others a morose, truculent teenager  — a combination, like Amy Winehouse’s jazz croons and street savvy, that is at the root of her appeal.

Most tracks on this startling debut deal with the turmoil of troubled love — blunt, honest missives from the front line embellished with orchestral violins or a gospel chorus. She’s been working with producer Mark Ronson, and it shows with the judicious placing of a few strings here, a Memphis-style guitar lick there. Some songs are humble and spare, some full and magnificent: ‘Hometown Glory’, an ode to Tottenham, is eloquent and moving. She has the vocal talent of a young Alison Moyet, and thankfully this debut lives up to expectations.

© Lucy O’BrienMOJO, March 2008

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