V.V. Brown, 'Travelling Like the Light' (Capitol)

8
Travelling Like the Light
Critical Mass
Label: Capitol

by Barry Walters

The latest Brit upstart to dust off moldy styles with contemporary sonics, Brown turns '50s and early-'60s pop-rock back into the soul from which it came without smoothing out the rough edges. Her enthusiasm immediately leaps from the grooves, but this debut also reveals an emotional and musical range her neo-retro peers lack: She veers from rockabilly punk to Beyoncé-schooled R&B without an unseemly squeak. And on the George Michael-esque peak "Shark in the Water," Brown bares a fierce charisma.

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