Lianne La Havas is one of the many gems I’ve come across in this year’s festival circuit. The multi-talented singer-songwriter from London possesses not just a pretty face and an enticing charm, but also a silky soulful voice that really blew me away. Her debut album Is Your Love Big Enough? was well-recieved critically and not only received a Mercury Prize nomination, but also ushered her into a nomination for BBC’s Sound of 2012 poll. Having let her debut marinate for a few years, her sophomore effort Blood, is finally here to savour.
Blood floats into life via the dreamy opener Unstoppable, a tranquil track that’s stripped back and utterly hypnotising. Things continue at this mellow-yet-mesmerising pace, sauntering its way to a triumphant brass-charged finale with Green and Gold. Things are kicked up a notch with the outstanding single What You Don’t Do, and while the track has a dash more bite, there’s this air of classy restraint; an ongoing theme to the album.
While the music itself is pleasing and easy to listen to, La Havas’ song writing is as equally impressive. Take Tokyo for example, a vulnerable track with just as revealing lyrics; ‘Grew a thicker skin // Now it’s growing thin // You can see right into me.’ La Havas’ genuine songwriting is authentic and her music bleeds honesty. Her ability becomes more evident as the album expires such as with the absolutely stunning Ghosts, where lines like ‘stuck somewhere between a foe and friend’ would tug at the toughest of heartstrings.
Blood is a really impressive album, and Lianne La Havas is an enchanting musician who had me hypnotised from the start. From the jazzed up first half, to the sultry, measured latter half, the quality stretches across the duration of the LP. While excellent the project is not without its flaws, such as with the warble-filled Grow, or the absolutely bizarre Never Get Enough, which has absolutely no place on an album like this, and really does stick out like a sore thumb, especially sat between the aforementioned Ghost and the delicate finale. While Blood has a few screws that could do with tightening, on the whole it’s an accomplished release.
Verdict – WWWV