Amy Winehouse’s death has left a hole in neo-soul and Joss Stone’s latest only illustrates what an irreplaceable talent Winehouse was. LP1 is the bluesy 24-year-old singer’s flattest and phoniest album yet, far removed from the bottled lightning that makes artists like Winehouse one of a kind. The red flags come flying early and often, starting with that title, which is basically musician’s code for “back-to-basics album.” LP1 is a fresh start for Stone, who parted ways with her label after creative differences and set up shop on her own—wait for it—Stone’d Records. But the results are no fresher than her previous work.
Stone has set about making as superfluous a bar-band effort as someone with her pedigree could inexplicably muster. Despite a capable vocal range, Stone primarily dials up screechy wails (the otherwise superlative “Cry Myself To Sleep”) and contrived, finger-wagging sass (the unlistenable “Don’t Start Lying To Me Now”). When Stone settles down for “Drive At Night,” LP1 finally gets a bit of the soft touch it needs, and hits a sweet spot halfway between down-tempo Sade balladry and twangy blues. Elsewhere, LP1 is an almost shockingly forgettable slab of forced adult-contemporary rock, destined for a Whole Foods aisle near you.