May 19, 2008 12:00 PM

Rockferry |

CRITIC’S CHOICE

R&B-POP

It must be something in the water: Following Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse and, more recently, Estelle, Duffy is the latest retro-soul chanteuse to emerge from the U.K.’s deep talent pool. The Welsh singer (full name: Aimee Ann Duffy) has already hit No. 1 in the U.K. with her smashing debut, which arrives in the States two months after being released overseas. You couldn’t ask for a much better introduction than “Mercy,” the first U.S. single. A ’60s-girl-group throwback grooving with a “Stand by Me”-style bass line, it’s the kind of knockout song that “Rehab” was for Winehouse. Other highlights include the bluesy “Hanging On Too Long” and the bittersweet “Delayed Devotion.” While Duffy’s torchy, tangy vocals are sometimes reminiscent of Winehouse’s, she’s more like the second coming of Dusty Springfield.

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