Having broken through with her 2003 debut album, it can be easy to forget that the artist also known as Joscelyn Eve Stoker had barely finished school at the time - she's only turned 28 this year. Success on both sides of the Atlantic led to multi-platinum sales, yet recent years saw Joss Stone make headlines for more personal reasons. She'll be glad to get the focus back on her music.
There's no hesitation from Stone in catapulting her audience into the reggae direction that characterises 'Water For Your Soul' - though opening track 'Love Me' feels very much like an extended intro. On a positive note, her voice remains as soulfully strong as the teen that impressed so many over a decade ago, but the Caribbean flavours present do not compliment her style. Worst of all is the Placebo and Inner Circle sampling 'Harry's Symphony', where she throws in a few lines of 'Bad Boys' in a Jamaican accent - the infamous Brit Awards incident seemingly teaching her nothing. It's far from the only stinker though, 'Cut The Line' and 'Way Oh' amongst others tread a similar path.
Perhaps predictably it is when Stone returns to more familiar territory that this record brings some enjoyment - but these moments are rare in this collection. 'This Ain't Love' is the perfect reminder of why she was heralded as such a talent, while the Latin touch on 'Let Me Breathe' would have been a more suitable influence to pack this release with. Unfortunately, these are closer to token gestures while Stone indulges her reggae experimentation - a decision that won't see her return to former glories any time soon.
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