Having cemented herself in the music industry singing classic tunes as well as more contemporary songs, her latest effort is an impressive evolution from the standard soul music she is known for…
‘Water For Your Soul’ is Joss Stone’s 7th studio album (the 3rd release on her Stone’d Records Label), which is quite an achievement for someone who hasn’t even reached 30 years old yet. It was co-produced with Damien Marley (the youngest son of Bob Marley) whom Stone worked with on the collaborative album ‘Superheavy’, and the results are fairly evident with incredible diversity in sound and musicianship, whilst maintaining her familiar soulful delivery.
Whilst the album isn’t dominated by Marley’s reggae influence (in 2006 he won a Grammy for Best Reggae Album with Welcome to Jamrock), it is obvious after the first few tracks that there is a strong influence that has carried over from their aforementioned collaboration 4 years ago.
Opener Love Me is a very agreeable mix of reggae and funky rhythm, the perfect soundtrack to summer followed by a more familiar groove with This Ain’t Love. Again it flirts around the edges of wider influences without ever losing the character of Stone’s more natural style.
After that, there’s an even more eclectic variation of influences and sounds from folk, hip hop and African music. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is a random mish-mash of genres however, each component has obviously been worked out and the focus always remains on Joss Stone doing what she does best which is to carry the song with confidence and gusto.
With its Latin guitar, Let Me Breathe sounds like it belongs on one of the last few Santana albums and the same could be said for Cut The Line. Album closer The Answer’ slows things down with a flourish of folk violins, while it’s perfectly listenable, for me it’s also somewhat of an anti-climax.
The prevailing impression left at the end of the album is that here is a set of songs that are well recorded and well produced but half of them ultimately sound a bit flat. Fortunately, those that are fantastic manage to carry the album and the amalgamations of Joss Stone’s vocal prowess and Damien Marley’s authentic roots are its obvious strengths. Not bad, but perhaps a little too different for fans of her usual soul catalogue.
Rating – 7/10
Author: Steve, Bristol store