Alternative soul singer Lianne La Havas is already blowing up in the UK, where her debut album Is Your Love Big Enough? hit #4 a month ago. Afropunk has featured a few of her videos over the past few months, and now the record is finally available in the US.
Lianne La Havas is at her best when her sultry smoky voice is layered on top of intricate guitar riffs and driving percussion. Opener “Don't Wake Me Up” is an epic slow-building song. The haunting harmonies add a sort of cinematic quality. While the title track is a jumpy blues number that builds into a giant choir-driven hook. (complete with soul claps and glockenspiel, because everything is made awesome by soul claps and glockenspiel; they're like the garlic of music...) “Au Cinema” captures a Parisian cafe vibe. It's beautiful but with a constant driving pulse beneath. And “Forget” is a perfect break-up song; all seething rage, but without losing a shred of her gifts as a master of massive melody. It's the sort of song that Alanis Morissette wishes she still had it in her to write.
The record lags a bit in the back half when Lianne La Havas sets up camp in ballad town. Some early ballads like “Lost & Found” and “No Room For Doubt” count among the records highlights. But tracks like “Gone” and “Tease Me,” though ably showcasing her incredible voice, are a bit too minimal to make the same kind of impact that the record's best tracks make. Nevertheless, the heights of this record are high enough to weather a slight overabundance of ballads.
The record is available now for download at all the usual stores, and (as if we didn't love her enough already) on vinyl (!!) via Lianne La Havas' website: http://www.liannelahavas.com/store.htm.
- Words by Nathan Leigh