Adele’s stratospheric success may have generated a surplus of British soul songbirds, but there’s only one Jessie Ware, who last year transitioned from scene-stealer on tracks by fellow pan-electronica acts Joker and SBTRKT to shooting starlet with her acclaimed solo debut Devotion. The softness and subtlety of her delivery initially sets her apart: While the competition wails, she sighs. But that restraint and poise also extends to her accompaniment, a canny mix of R&B, EDM and indie rock: Dave Okumu, her primary collaborator, fronts The Invisible, a Mercury Prize-nominated experimental London trio akin to TV on the Radio.
This EP serves as Ware’s official introduction to US audiences (as of early 2013, Devotion remains available to stateside fans as a download and a pricey import CD). That album’s “110%,” a cool and aching-speed garage romp, here appears as “If You’re Never Gonna Move,” its repeated, pitch-shifted sample of Big Punisher rapping “Carving my initials on your forehead” now replaced with a virtually identical sound-alike. Check out the song’s far slower Two Inch Punch remix, the final track, which features an alternate Ware vocal, ample vinyl surface noise, and a ghostly chillout groove. The main selling point is “What You Won’t Do For Love,” a smoldering, otherwise unavailable cover of Bobby Caldwell’s 1978 slow-dance classic that particularly emphasizes Ware’s place in a long line of Brit-soul class acts like Sade and Loose Ends. “Gotta thing for you and I cahn’t let go,” she enunciates seductively, deliciously.