After a much-publicized battle with her major label, Joss Stone returns with her own indie imprint — and a disc title that promises a fresh start. Which LP1 is, but not in the best possible way. Stone apparently wants to go back to basics, yet she hedges her bets by pulling in co-producer Dave Stewart, who brings his glossy drum sound and overmikes the vocals. There’s nobody here to counter Stone’s excesses: a tendency to oversing (glaringly so on a mid-album stretch of songs), an occasional puerile lyric (the “you’re the bitch” chorus on “Karma”), an out-of-place big ballad (“Boat Yard,” which seems like it could turn into “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” at any moment). The usual retro-soul homages come off better, but she sounds more than ever like a singer with a great voice and no idea what to say with it.
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