Album: Alex Clare, The Lateness of the Hour (Island)

Twenty-five-year-old North Londoner Clare isn't the first 2011 newbie to harness old-school soul to modern dance music, but he's certainly the most bracing.

Producers Diplo and Switch dally with a magpie's nest of rhythms and styles, while his hurt-hewn holler aims for the rafters. From dancehall/nu-metal hybrids to dubstep-meets-Bond theme balladry, its bombastic stuff, but also finely tuned in its balance of sincerity and showmanship.