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Alice Russell Pot of Gold

Joss who? Amy who? The best–meaning quirkiest and most original–young British soul siren around is Alice Russell. Though her sound is pleasantly accessible, Russell is beyond just aiming for retro-chic with pop-tart gloss; she’s in the game to shake things up a bit. She coaxes a surprising amount of power out of her slim frame, going from a whisper to a scream in about 0.2 seconds, and her kookiness (and inspired arrangements) rescues Pot of Gold from typical U.K. R&B cliché-dom. Her version of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” doesn’t outdo the original, but easily stands on its own, while “Got the Hunger” simmers with Motown-ish sass. But Russell’s not just renting a room in Soulsville–she wants to own it.

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