Joss Stone, Water For Your Soul - album review

Download: This Ain’t Love; Stuck on You; Star

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The interest in reggae revealed by Joss Stone’s involvement in the ill-starred Jagger/Stewart Superheavy project goes rather deeper than expected, judging by its dominant role here.

The album is defined by striding skank grooves and dub stylings, with melodica lending a fragrant whiff of Augustus Pablo to tracks  like “Way Oh” and “Underworld”, and Linton Kwesi Johnson adding his assertive, poetic presence to “Harry’s Symphony”.

Sadly, “Sinsemilla” is not a cover of the Black Uhuru classic, but a bubblebath-soul-style herbal eulogy which hints at Stone’s patchy musical judgement. Too many of these grooves are efficient but forgettable, and her vocal contributions likewise somewhat generic, although  the elastic, dub-style funk of “This Ain’t Love” and “Stuck On You” are deeply satisfying. The best is “Star”, a confection of damped guitar, strings and sousaphone bass.