LP1 is Joss Stone's fifth album and brings together her distinctive 'soul singer' voice with some twangtastic American-style guitar. I'd say it's more blues than soul, but then I've never been great with my genres.
You should know that I quite like Joss Stone. It seems like everybody either likes or despises her, and I'm definitely not in the latter category. Sure, her Americana speaking voice is a bit weird and she's a bit of a Mariah-Careyesque warbler, but she's actually not too self-indulgent about it.
Joss's vocal performance is typically a powerhouse, and even at what might easily be full throttle, you get the feeling she's holding something back in case the song needs to go to the next level. LP1 is no exception - it's a long time since I've seen a Joss Stone single hit the shelves, but any one track from this album could stand its own as an independent release.
I don't often say this, but the first track on LP1, Newborn, is actually one of the best. It opens with some of that hard-strummed guitar I mentioned above, but soon incorporates a bit of piano that's distinctly Joss Stone. The vocals, too, are familiar territory, easing long-term fans into this collection seamlessly. By the end of Newborn, though, the power level's been raised a notch or two and we're into the higher energy levels that typify LP1, compared with earlier work from Joss.
Don't Start Lying To Me Now is another high point, not so much for the song itself, but for the moment during the intro when I thought it was going to be a cover version of The Cure's Love Cats. If you're someone who can make mash-ups, make a mash-up of this. Wagner Carrilho, I'm talking to you.
LP1 is very much a Joss Stone album. Her vocals take centre stage and the backing music is - well, in places it could have been lifted straight from her earlier albums, in other places it's not really anything special. It's not going to change your mind about her, if you're not a fan. But it also shouldn't disappoint existing fans. It's business as usual - and for plenty of people that should be enough.
Personally, I like Joss Stone, as I've already said. But there's always been something missing, something that's stopped me from buying any of her albums. I can't quite put my finger on what it is, but I think it's to do with her likeability. I'm a huge fan of music you can put on for guests, and I'd no more play a Joss Stone album at a party than I would serve Marmite as the entree.
Final Score: 65%