Lianne La Havas
Is Your Love Big Enough? Warner Music ****
At the end of last year, this 22-year-old, London-born soul/pop singer-songwriter found herself on the longlist of the BBC’s Sound of 2012 poll (a strategic indicator of what the public might be hearing coming out of their radio this year).
Lianne La Havas didn’t make the shortlist (which included Azealia Banks, Niki the Dove, Skrillex, Frank Ocean and nominal winner Michael Kiwanuka), but it appears that, on the basis of Is Your Love Big Enough?, she will be a welcome commercial fixture before the year is out.
Blame La Havas’s (long- since separated) parents for her prodigious talent: her Greek, multi-instrumentalist father taught her the basics of chord progressions, while her mother grooved to the likes of Mary J Blige, Lauren Hill, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu.
Thanks to such early influences, La Havas – who pairs herself with Aqualung’s Matt Hales across the record – is right on the money with her debut album. Simply put, class oozes, seeps, drips and trickles out of every track.
One reason why La Havas runs rings around her contemporaries and closest rivals is due to the quality of the melodies and the honesty of the lyrics. Songs such as Forget (in which La Havas replies to a former lover’s peace offering), Age (a cynical if warm view of age difference in relationships) and Everything Everything (a kiss at the altar of rapture) resonate to La Havas’s sense of style.
More often than not, such style is enhanced by examples of some of the best soul/pop vocals you’ll probably hear this year (listen, in particular, to Everything Everything, which blends spaciousness of melody with old-school vocals that come from somewhere both spiritual and meaningful).
And so it continues – another much-lauded female singer and songwriter who, due to issues such as turnover and short attention spans, may or may not be around in a few years time. No matter: right here and right now Lianne La Havas is the biz, and Is Your Love Big Enough? rises effortlessly to the occasion. liannelahavas. com
Download tracks:Lost and Found, Age, Lost Found, Everything Everything, Forgey