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Album: Ben L'Oncle Soul, Ben L'Oncle Soul (Motown)

At last, something good from France that doesn't feature a vocoder.

Benjamin Duterde, aka Ben L'Oncle Soul, is a nu-soul singer of enormous charm and undoubted interpretive abilities, equally at home on the swinging Ray Charles-style R&B of "Demain J'Arrête", the slick Willie Mitchell funk-soul of "Elle Me Dit" and the propulsive Solomon Burke-esque deep soul of "Lise". Like The Dynamics, his version of "Seven Nation Army" re-routes The White Stripes via Jamaica, then Memphis, devising a reggae-infused soul setting for a delivery replete in emotional acuity and insight. The smoky tinge to Ben's voice works well against the punchy Motown groove and Stax-y horns of tracks like "Soulman" and "Mon Amour". A multi-platinum success at home, he might even be able to sell French songs over here.

DOWNLOAD THIS Seven Nation Army; Soulman; Mon Amour; Demain J'Arrête; Lise