Relentless/S Curve - 2004 - 42 minutes

The cover (old school font on the front, record imprint on the back, pictures of the players on the inside) will take soul fans back to the glory days. And if they shed a nostalgic tear over it then that will add even further real deal authenticity. But Stone wasn't around when any of those records were made; she was in born in 1987 when soul was swallowing itself up in over-production and too-slick ballads. So this album is a chance to steer people towards the glorious past - even if that wasn't the original plan.

Stone was meant to be recording her debut proper when a chance to meet her Miami soul heroes led to five days of recording and these 10 (another nod to the past) covers. While the version of the Isley brothers' 'For the Love of You' seems to last half the album, Stone pretty much upstages anyone else around right now with her treatment of these songs. Compared to the sound most of her peers opt for they come across more like demos, but Stone's delivery could've accommodated even less polish and more live sounding grit - especially on the bass-heavy, gender reassignment of the White Stripes' 'Fell in Love with a Girl'.

Whether she realises it or not, Stone is about to follow Norah Jones, Air and Moby and do one of those great magic tricks of making people who don't usually buy music shell out for hers. And presumably - like the 13-year-old who wishes he could age five years so he can get into anything in the cinema - she would like to turn 18 as quick as possible and leave behind the novelty copy that's currently linked to her great voice. With the success this album will generate she won't have long to wait - and nor will listeners for that sidetracked album, it's due out sometime this year.

And that's really the only worry you'll have. In the neighbourhood where Stone now resides, the acclaimed debuts are the 'easy' part, following them up is the tall order. Just ask Macy Gray, Jill Scott, Angie Stone and Erykah Badu.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: The Chokin' Kind - Super Duper Love (Are You Diggin on Me) Pt 1 - Fell in Love with a Boy - Victim of a Foolish Heart - Dirty Man - Some Kind of Wonderful - I've Fall in Love with You - I Had a Drea, - All the King's Horses - For the Love of You