Radio Universe/Universal

Heavily influenced by Marvin Gaye and taking a deep bow in the direction of Prince, Duke (aka Mark Adams) is the wonderboy of white soul. Already a hitmaker in his native England, Duke plays all instruments on his self-titled American debut and takes production credits as well. While his music has a strong flavor of late 60s/early 70s Motown, Duke infuses his grooves with aspects of electronic dance and varies the mix with a nice selection of ballads. The electronic trip hop beats of “Sanctified Woman” establishes an instant, addictive rhythm, while the repetitious lyrics suggest hypnotic obsession. His voice is also quite flexible, and varies as the style and tempo of the material dictates. A soaring falsetto carries the international club hit “So In Love With You” and the tender “How Can I Begin.” A few songs later, the funky cool “Middle Air” is delivered in a deep soulful croon. This is all very easy listening, but try playing Duke at a party and see if you can keep people from taking to the dance floor. With its big beats and slight calypso swing, “New Beginning” draws favorable comparisons to Blondie’s “Rapture,” and the infectious chorus of “The Answer” will have hips swaying and hands in the air. Duke’s talent for effortlessly crossing many genres — from soul and dance to rock and hip hop — provides a satisfying selection of many flavors to please many tastes. Universal Recods, 1755 Broadway, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10019

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