We may be at the beginning of a new year but the fifth album from Sharon Jones’s soul and funk revivalists is a journey into the musical past.
Lyrically, it doesn’t break new ground: heartbreak and hardship form the bedrock. Musically, it’s proudly backward-looking, lovingly recreating the vintage sound of 1960s and 1970s Stax and Motown. But the songwriting is consistently sharp and the performances superb.
Jones, who recorded her vocals before her recent treatment for cancer, is in fine form, with backing singers The Dapettes infusing the likes of stomping opener Retreat! and the urgent, quick-stepping People Don’t Get What They Deserve with a distinctive girl-group dynamic.
Throughout, there’s exquisite, deeply felt retro detailing courtesy of the Dap-Kings and bassist/producer Bosco Mann – it’s little wonder Amy Winehouse was so keen to record with them on Back To Black.