Album review: Raphael Saadiq: Stone Rollin'

Raphael Saadiq: Stone Rollin' Columbia, £11.99 ****

RAPHAEL Saadiq cut his teeth touring with Prince and singing with R&B group Tony! Toni! Ton! and has become something of a standard-bearer for old school rhythm'n'blues in his solo career. Stone Rollin' is an immaculate, eminently palatable throwback to the sweet soul sounds of Al Green and Marvin Gaye, spiced up with 60s dance grooves, beat pop and glimpses of the big band boogie of Sly Stone. What's Going On is an obvious touchstone for Go To Hell's graceful, uplifting orchestral arrangement and The Answer's gentle call for collective and individual responsibility. But unlike breakthrough albums by Amy Winehouse and Plan B, Saadiq's painstaking retro pastiche neglects to inject a 21st-century spin on its influences.