It’s boom time for ladies with big voices, but there’s no way to write off Jessie Ware as just another Adele knock-off. Bizarrely, her singles undersell just how exciting an artist she is, but listening thirty or so seconds into Devotion should be enough to persuade any doubters. A good deal of the credit goes to producer Dave Okumu, who brings occasional touches of genius to the soundscape without ever distracting from Jessie’s voice. The best tracks (“Devotion”, “Night Light”) are those where he handled the production himself.
Nonetheless, the real strength of the album is the vocals. Given that Jessie sounds great while wandering about in the middle of a street, it’s hardly surprising that with the addition of a studio she can really deliver. It’s not just a matter of being able to hold a note; there’s an assuredness to her delivery that gels perfectly with the sensual bass-lines to really smoulder. There’s no other word for what Devotion does.