Album: Seal, Soul 2 (Warner Bros)

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The Independent Culture

This follow-up to Seal's massively successful 2008 anthology of soul classics extends that album's largely Sixties orientation into the Seventies, with covers of standards by such as Al Green, Marvin Gaye and Bill Withers.

With Trevor Horn sharing production duties with David Foster, the arrangements are impeccable. But while Seal's voice is a natural fit, it's hard to discern what these versions add, given their general faithfulness to the originals. Some songs are virtually uncoverable: the lushly orchestrated "What's Going On" loses the ethereal quality of Marvin Gaye's, for instance. And the lack of variation is wearing: after a while, I was desperate for someone to bring the funk in true Seventies style, but all I got was neatly coiffed covers of Detroit Spinners, Delfonics and Chi-Lites.

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