Observations: Duffy's Mercy gets its second coming

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The Independent Culture

As if we had not heard enough of Duffy's mega-hit last year, prepare for its second coming. Now "Mercy" has been covered to sound even more retro. Quite a feat, given how strongly the Welsh wonder channels the beehive glamour of Dusty Springfield and Lulu's wide-eyed exuberance.

It has been re-rubbed to sound like a long-lost Northern soul stomper, boasting an upper-friendly funk rhythm, gravely vocals and horns so heavy even Mark Ronson might find them overbearing. The work of London production team the Third Degree, their version first appeared in March as a limited seven-inch single, released on the seminal Acid Jazz label. Since then, it has been taken up by new imprint Tri-Sound, who garnered further interest via a deal with the cutting-edge music streaming service Spotify.

Heading the Third Degree and credited as producer is one "Sir" Tristan Longworth, whose previous claim to fame is as a member of mod revivalists Pleasure Beach, best known for a cheeky Hammond organ led take on Nirvana's "Smell's Like Teen Spirit". Longworth is happy to accept the retro badge, but reckons many artists seeking a classic sound get it all wrong, which is why he picked on "Mercy". "Retro's often tagged to songs that use traditional instruments, but still sound too polished and clinical and completely miss the point of what makes a track soulful. The Duffy track was the prime example: everything sounds OK, but it is too perfect. Beauty comes with imperfection."

"Mercy" by the Third Degree is out June 29 on Tri-Sound Records

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