21 (XL) 4/5
Sometimes you wonder: what’s the point of having all these big-voiced gal singers around unless they’re going to use their talents for good rather than evil (I’m thinking specifically of Marina & the Diamonds and Duffy here).
Adele delivers, though. She may only be 23, (the album is named after her age at the time she wrote it) but Adele has grown into that huge voice, gutsy and heart-achy by turns, of hers. The bluesy stomp of Rolling In The Deep is the perfect vehicle for her throaty holler while Rumour Has It is a noirish take on the usually done-to-death 60s girl-band homage. At times she’s let down by the overblown production but it’s a minor quibble. She’s almost up their with Amy Winehouse. Almost.