Review: Lianne La Havas – Is Your Love Big Enough?
Published on July 24th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
As meteoric rises go, that of 22 year-old London songstress Lianne La Havas has been one of the more reassuringly merited ones of recent times. Her debut album Is Your Love Big Enough? might not quite have hit the number 1 spot – not that number 4 is anything to sniff at – but it hints at so very much more to come from this undeniable talent.
Opener “Don’t Wake Me Up” is a stirring piano number that acquires a funky slow shuffle before making way for the big sing/chant/clap-along chorus skip of the title track, in which La Havas professes to dancing “’til I wasn’t drunk anymore” and welcomes honky-tonk piano to the party towards the end, imbuing the track with an oddly Motown feel.
“Lost & Found” is, in stark contrast, heartbreaking: “You broke me / And taught me / To truly hate myself” has her wavering vocal, and you just want to give her a hug. She can hate herself all she likes, but a lot of people have a lot of love for Lianne La Havas right now.
“Au Cinéma” is the kind of sleek ‘n’ slick soul-pop that could have featured on Laetitia Sadier’s new album, wielding as well a rich kind of “American Boy” melodic twist, and then we’re treated to the pared-back yet luxuriant Willy Mason duet “No Room For Doubt” and perhaps the album’s stand-out track “Forget”, which charges “Waste all your time writing love songs / But you don’t love me” and brandishes a chugging, attitudinal chorus reminiscent of Gaggle‘s stunning recent debut LP.
The breezily sophisticated and charming “Age” tells of a proclivity for young men complicating the attentions of an older man (“So is it such a problem that he’s old? / As long as he does what he’s told / I’m glad that it’s just my heart that he stole / And left my dignity alone”); “Everything Everything” – which may or may not have something to do with the band of the same name – fashions a slow-burning majesty out of its low, rolling military march and gorgeous twinkly fingerpicking, while the Nina Simone-esque “Gone” stamps its gentle authority with “What the heck? / Last time I checked, we had it all”. On this form, you suspect she’ll soon have it back.
Closer “They Could Be Wrong” is a compelling example of La Havas’s mastery of vocal dynamics/light and shade/tension and release/whatever you want to call it, all the while propelled along on quick yet subtle drumming and her exhortation of “Hear me out / Just hear me out”. You really should, you know.
Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!
Is Your Love Big Enough? is out now on Warner Bros. For more information, please visit liannelahavas.com