Esse & the Brave New Sounds Destiny’s Child

Windsor songwriter/vocalist Susannah Powell possesses an incredibly gorgeous and androgynous voice, a husky tone that resembles the Waterboys’ Mike Scott in his more hushed moments. Behind her, a soulful band featuring strings, harmonica and soul-inflected saxophone recalls vintage Van Morrison, with natural production allowing everything to breathe effortlessly. Unfortunately, occasionally embarrassing lyrics (“The Bar Song”) threaten to side track the music’s emotional depth. (Noble)