Alice Russell To Dust

Alice RussellTo Dust
If anything, Alice Russell is consistent. The UK soul singer-songwriter is now on her fifth studio album, but crossover success (à la soul-inspired contemporary Adele) has largely eluded her. No matter, Russell is clearly committed to a purer strain of "blue-eyed" R&B — To Dust is unabashedly so. In fact, discard the "blue-eyed" tag altogether; Russell embodies American soul in a richly authentic way. That said, To Dust is a notch slightly removed from extraordinary. Long-time collaborator/producer TM Juke returns to help fashion a project where the title track sounds like gospel-lite, "I Loved You" is '80s soul done right, "Let Go (Breakdown)" aims for up-tempo dance sensibilities/remix aspirations and "Heartbreaker Pt.2" funks with traditional R&B expectations, standing as the most pop-sounding number on the 13-track release. But a smouldering, Prince-sounding number like "Twin Peaks" is emblematic of this entire project: good reaching for great. Not enough to likely attain crossover appeal, but definitely hitting a sweet and soulful spot, Alice isn't Adele, but she doesn't aspire to be. (EMI)