TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2012 |
Posted by: Joe Puglisi
Jessie Ware occupies a strange space in between SBTRKT, Adele, and Jamie Lidell, and it doesn't take a hardcore music fan to know that's a sweet spot to be. Like a futuristic R&B machinist, twisting noises and expectations while maintaining an intoxicating command of melody, it's like a drug to consume Devotion, her very strong debut album. It's as if several components of today's hyped up minimalists were combined into one super-artist -- the scarcity of The xx, the soulful crooning of Frank Ocean, the character of Lana Del Rey -- but there's substance here, which some of the aforementioned individual pieces can't quite compete with.
On "Running," one of the album's clear standouts, a smoldering guitar line is used to great effect. And when coupled with the background vocal riffs give it a 2020-era standard feel. It's the best example of Ware's aesthetic, half neon-keyboard on a space-ship, half smoky cafe in the 70s. The dichotomy has been attempted quite a bit recently, but never executed so convincingly.
With tracks like "110%," that really accentuate her roots in EDM and singing refrains for SBTRKT, Ware stretches her legs and demonstrates elasticity in style beyond her voice. Ware is our future diva, as reserved as she is powerful, as versatile as she is preoccupied with variations on her own themes.