Jessie Ware - ‘Devotion’ (PMR)

05 Sep 2012

"‘Devotion’ is a hamper of treats, all different but clearly of the same flavour, brewed on the dance floor where Ware has been cultivating this sound for a long time, taking on board influences and befriending future collaborators as she goes..."

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Jessie Ware’s debut album Devotion is welcomed with open arms. It’s been a long time coming and it’s seriously good. With it, she retains her girl next door, down to earth persona with incredible modesty - she was happy singing back vocals for all those years (sterling work for Man Like Me, Jack Penate, SBTRKT etc) but we see her take the graceful step to centre stage boldly. All the while retaining her humility and therein lies the power of this album. It’s not even trying to be the best, it just is.

‘Devotion’ is a hamper of treats, all different but clearly of the same flavour, brewed on the dance floor where Ware has been cultivating this sound for a long time, taking on board influences and befriending future collaborators as she goes. She is clearly a huge music fan; she’s worked with the best people to produce this album (Dave Okumu, Julio Bashmore) – she is a girl who knows what she’s doing. The single ‘110%’ has an unavoidably similar beat to Kelis & Andre 3000’s ‘Millionaire’ but that’s okay because it’s been eight years since that track came out and it’s brilliant - appropriation of cool shit is a skill that Ware excels at.

Ware presents us with moving and highly emotional tracks. ‘Wildest Moments’ is an 80’s dream, with Pat Benetar-esque anthemic lyrics that pull apart the positives and negatives of an obsessive relationship. Beneath that earthy exterior is a lot of fight and a truck load of soul. The album opener ‘Devotion’ is gorgeous with beautiful harp and string arrangements that are the embodiment of the song’s title. ‘Night Light’ has awesome 80’s ballad-esque rock guitars and strong strings with aschool of Jamie XX production and a big vocal. Track after track is proof of just how diverse Ware is.

Ultimately, it’s not only great but also hugely encouraging that intelligent, heart-felt songistry can still find its way into the charts, building up from the bedrooms, dance floor’s, sound systems and finding its way into the living rooms of the masses. We’re proud to have Jessie Ware flying the flag for smart pop and are certain she’ll continue do to do for a very, very long time.

Read out Jessie Ware biography HERE

Devotion is out now.

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