Album Review: Lianne La Havas – Is Your Love Big Enough?

By on Thursday, 12th July 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

So you’ve seen that Jools Holland performance right? You know, the one in which Lianne La Havas, a relatively unknown singer/songwriter held her own in fine fashion in the same hour as Bon Iver and metal-masters Mastodon, attracting her around 500,000 views on those two songs alone (‘Age’ below, and ‘No Room for Doubt’ here) and igniting a bright path that’s led her through a brilliant EP and to playing Alexandra Palace with Bombay Bicycle Club? Well she’s gotten round to finishing her debut record. So is it just a flash in the one girl and a guitar pan or can we believe the moderate hype that’s been building around the most infectious smile in music?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYDhQdzo4Io[/youtube]

From the ‘Lost & Found’ EP, the first three tracks ‘No Room for Doubt’ (below), ‘Age’ and the title track have made it through. They’re bona fide pop with underground appeal. Radio1 and Radio2 hits that you’d be equally as happy hearing on Amazing Radio, come heatwave (looking at you, America) or flash floods (hello, England). None of them are the best on this record, but they fit in nicely.

From the off, there’s something that’s a bit different about La Havas. ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’ opens with backing vocoders and computorised sounds that slowly blends to her one, lovely voice. “Well I know why I lost control of my heart and soul”, she begins. You beckon she tells more. Then it’s the title track (video at the end of this post), ‘Lost & Found’, and ‘Au Cinema’. They glow with pure sunshine and are catchy enough to have the likes of Latitude’s World Stage smiling with open arms all summer long.

Not only is the pop sheen spectacular, it’s the slow tracks that really draw the listener in. Its all very well being able to write radio friendly 3 minute 21 second types, but without the depth of slow tracks such as ‘Gone’, it means little. Yes, even here she challenges, especially with the line “the last time I checked, we had it all”. It’s probably not a nod to Adele, but it’s probably better crafted than most of the chart-busting ’19’.

Like with all debut records, there are flaws. There’s tracks clearly not destined for anything further than 2012. ‘Elusive’, ‘Everything Everything’ and the plain weird ‘Tease Me’ just bore as your attention fades to wondering why Willy Mason’s verse exists, or what happened to the quality brilliance of the first seven tracks. Still, there’s beauty to be found here and it’s the kind that doesn’t look like its going to go away for a while.

7.5/10

Lianna La Havas’ debut album ‘Is Your Love Big Enough?’ is out now on Warner Brothers.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcXl6CDqpvY[/youtube]

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