Welsh singer Duffy made a splash two years ago with her debut, Rockferry, a collection of neo-soul songs that adhered a little too closely to their old-school roots. Still, the blond and blue-eyed Duffy offered a safe alternative to Amy Winehouse. For one thing, she isn't batshit crazy. Plus, her songs don't take as many risks. On the follow-up, Endlessly, the 26-year-old singer-songwriter takes even fewer chances, checking in with 10 songs that drain quite a bit of soul from the R&B. Duffy and collaborator Albert Hammond (who had a couple of hits in the '70s but is best known these days as father to one of the Strokes) bury the album in retro sounds — strings, horns, stuffy production — that stifle a great deal of inspiration. Endlessly's best song, "Well, Well, Well," includes backing by the Roots, who push a little motivation Duffy's way. But she looks back with so much determination, she often loses her way. — Gallucci
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