Album Review - Jess Glynne

I Cry When I Laugh
***

Jess Glynne has been vaguely famous for the past 12 months by dint of her “featuring vocals” on Clean Bandit’s chart-topping ‘Rather Be’.

Now a campaign is under way to establish the 25-year-old Londoner as a headliner in her own right. But what sort of artist does she wish to be?

On her debut album, she hedges her bets, coming over like a trainee Amy Winehouse one moment, tipping into something more sultry and avant-garde the next (she has clearly kept one eye on the career of the edgier Jessie Ware).

The record’s biggest weakness is its kitchen sink production. Working with a rotating cast of producers (including Starsmith and Gorgon City), Glynne shows little tolerance for subtly and at moments it can feel as if she is trying to pummel rather than seduce the listener. Amidst the overkill, here is a project crying out for a glimmering of calm and reflectiveness — grown-up emotions to which Glynn gives short shrift.

What’s beyond doubt, however, is her prowess as a vocalist. No matter how broad the material — and some of the material here is very broad indeed — her delivery is never short of stunning.

This imbues even workaday tunes such as ‘Real Love,’ ‘Right Here’ (featuring the aforementioned and irritatingly perky Clean Bandit) with a powerful emotiveness.

Elsewhere, she comfortably dons the guise of heartfelt balladeer, most impressively on the Emeli Sandé duet ‘Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself.’

The song is unabashed treacle yet Glynn is such a persuasive performer that you can’t help falling for it anyway.


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