Oh, this is good. Some are thinking of Jessie as the new millennial Sade in the way she melds cool and sensuousness. Solid songwriting wrapped in electronic adornment, with live guitar provided by Dave Okumu, which is very welcome.
Not really electronica, or straight pop, or nouveau
R&B, Devotion takes elements of all of those and makes something
very personal from the combination. I’m reminded of Bryan Ferry’s solo
albums, in that it dwells in darkness and space, with fine details that
glint from the shadows. There are many enticing details that emerge on
headphones, but it’s never messy or random. Like Ferry, Ware works a
catch phrase, such as on No to Love, and weaves atmospheric magic from
is light and lovely, but not entirely representative of the album,
which is pretty dark, filled as it is with a taste for deep heartbreak.
voice is usually chill, with just a hint of soulful aura. Unlike many
singers, who oversing to the degree that it’s a relief when they pull
back, JW rarely seems to flex a muscle. But when she does, as on
Running, or Taking In Water, it’s a real thrill. On Something Inside
she sounds like an angel.
has the potential of becoming a classic, it’s contemporary but not
trendy. I can imagine people putting this on 15 years from now and
saying, “I still love this.” It was announced this month that Devotion
is up for the UK’s Mercury Prize.
a live version of the title track. It’s only based on two chords, D Maj going to F# Maj with the third in the bass, but
they’re a major third apart, which leaves the tonality uneasy and
ambivalent (Hey, that’s the Coltrane change!). I love the focus and
precision of her band in this performance.
more than a great debut, it’s feels like a career making record. It
makes one ponder how she could possibly create a stronger follow-up.
This album is so chic, I feel like I should dress up to listen to it.
Could be album of the year for me.