When it comes to Aimee Duffy, it all seems a little too convenient. Her success seems too obvious, too planned, and altogether too predictable.
Record companies, giddy off the success of Winehouse, have no doubt spent the past year scouring the United Kingdom for young women who possess a critic-friendly, radio-stimulating talent for jazz-pop. (I mention the success of Winehouse, though I’m aware the track marks on her arms, ant farm on her head, and dirt on her 400-day-old ballet shoes mount a compelling case for failure).
With Amy wrecked and wandering the streets in an ill-fitting bra, it was predictable that industry fatcats would wheel out a Wine-lite; someone sassy (but not offensively so), sober, and safe. Aimee Duffy seems to tick all those boxes, but here’s the shocker: she’s actually good.
MP3: Duffy – “Mercy” (from Rockferry, 2008).
MP3: Duffy – “Syrup & Honey” (from Rockferry, 2008).
This girl knows her sound, and she does it well. There’s the tough, big-booted swagger of Nancy Sinatra, as well as the gentler, distant charm of Dusty Springfield. Sure, Duffy isn’t exactly breaking new ground… but at least her efforts aren’t cheap, stunningly obvious facsimiles of Miss Winehouse.
For an example of that, I give you Gabriella Cilmi: a young Australian girl rich in sweetness, but seriously lacking in taste.
You can imagine the marketing meeting: ‘I like this Cilmi girl, but can she play bad? No? Well, make her. The punters are buying bad girls this year.’ Duffy owes her marketability to Winehouse, but she didn’t steal her sound.
(Quick question about the Cilmi video: has a bass player ever looked like more of an arsehole?).