When Lucky Soul released their debut album, The Great Unwanted, in 2007, their breezy soul-pop earned swooning comparisons to Dusty Springfield and Motown, but made so little impact on the pop market that frontman Andrew Laidlaw was subsequently reduced to sleeping rough in the band's studio. A year later, Duffy trod similar ground with her debut album, Rockferry, but she became a worldwide phenomenon and sold by the million. A Coming of Age isn't likely to redress this injustice – but that's no reflection on the album's verve and ambition. Laidlaw is of the melancholy-lyrics/joyously-uplifting-music school of songwriting, with Woah Billy! and Up in Flames swathing a "maudlin soul" in bouncy piano, Stax-styled strings and snappy rhythms. And he has a radiant singer in Ali Howard, although her girlish sweetness becomes problematic when the musical mood darkens: lacking emotional heft in the vocals, Warm Water and Southern Melancholy slide into caramelised sentimentality. Not that the Duffy fanbase would mind, if only they would pay attention.
Lucky Soul: A Coming of Age | CD review