She's a strange one, Emeli Sandé: a back-to-front pop star for back-to-front times.
Before her debut album, the Scottish former medical student had already guested on hit singles by Chipmunk and Example and written songs for acts as disparate as SuBo and the (original) Sugababes, making her a weird definition of "newcomer" by anyone's standards. What this signals, however, is that she knows what she's doing.
OVOE is one of those debuts which sounds like a seasoned star hitting their peak. Opener "Heaven", a No 2 hit last summer, echoes – consciously, surely – the existential soul of Massive Attack's "Unfinished Sympathy", and that sound is Sandé's forte.
If the album has a flaw, it's samey-ness. The wheel remains un-reinvented, but Sandé – whose real first name is Adele – nevertheless deserves to sell in Adele-like quantities.