Mouthy singers will never be an endangered species, those with the songs to back up their guff don't appear too often. Winehouse, though, sounds like someone who's worth sticking with for the long haul.

Swapping the jazz of her acclaimed debut 'Frank' for the magic of 1960s girl groups, 'Back to Black' is a rarity: a modern-day soul record that's short, memorable and not produced to a lacquered finish.

With a mixture of man trouble and defiance that has a lived-in feel, every track here could hold its own on a jukebox back in the day. Winehouse also shows how lost many of her peers are when it comes to putting out an album that's interesting the whole way through. And with imagination and attitude in such supply, there's no reason she can't get even better.

Two years ago the 23-year-old was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize for 'Frank'; don't be surprised if she wins this time.

Harry Guerin