Jessie Ware review – safe soul caught between candour and blandness

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Islington Assembly Hall, London
Showcasing ballads from her third album Glasshouse, the singer keeps things cool – but with a sensationally emotional closing number

It’s hard to think of a young British artist who has had as easy a ride as Jessie Ware. A singer who began her career collaborating with future-facing figures such as Sampha and SBTRKT, Ware’s electronica-plated soul exists in a hinterland between pop and the underground, and is held to the standards of neither – not mocked for its shortage of Top 40-scaling hooks, nor chastised for its lack of inventiveness.

Instead it has been allowed to stretch its sultry wings in relative freedom, seemingly given special dispensation to pursue the ideals of subtlety and sophistication rather than resort to the attention-seeking abrasion that is the sad lot of out-and-out popstars like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry. Ware has also been spared the sniffy reviews suffered by other bastions of tasteful minimalism including London Grammar. Such are her reserves of cool that not even a working relationship with chart demon Ed Sheeran (she co-wrote the much-derided New Man on his last album; he co-wrote Say You Love Me on hers) could sully Ware’s reputation.

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Music | The Guardian

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