Album Review: Jessie Ware – Devotion (PMR/Island Records; 2012)

By Matthew Law

This debut by Jessie Ware is an example of why so many people have become disillusioned with mainstream music. Her songs have received little radio airtime, yet her music is alarmingly good.

Ware was born in 1985, and twenty-six years later came to some success with the release of her debut single “Strangest Feeling“. Since then she has been turning heads and melting hearts with her stunning voice and original sound.

Ware, throughout Devotion, provides a beautiful blend of classic rhythm and blues, electronic and disco to create a record that will slowly draw you in and never let you go. Tracks such as “Wildest Moments” and “Swan Song” are more typically crafted than the others, but still manage to be soft and spiritual.

“N

ight Light” though is the winning song on the album. It is a ballad that truly shows off this young woman's strong and soulful voice.

Producer Dave Okumu has let Ware use her own musical style and composition.  But he also incorporates elements of alternative rock to give the album a hint of maturity in its instrumental segments. The guitar in “Running” in particular is very good.

This is a fantastic record, but it is not perfect. To start with, the rapping in “No To Love” is in jarring juxtaposition to Ware's voice, and does not fit in with the overall feel of the album.

Secondly, there are occasions when the lyrical content leaves a little to be desired, with Ware repeating the same lines over several minutes. These gripes could be blamed on the production team, but it is hard to criticise the little issues considering the job they have done as a whole.

Devotion is an extremely good start. Ware has provided an album that shouldn't work. A combination of electronica, modern soul, rhythm and blues, and disco that just comes together like raindrops from the sky in the formation of a perfect circle of water.

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