Lianne La Havas - Is Your Love Big Enough?
Record Label: Warner Bros.
Release Date: July 9, 2012 (UK) / August 7 2012 (US)
With Adele selling more than 22 million copies of 21 since it's release early last year, it's hard to think of another artist who could even come close to touching that success in recent memory. With a music industry dominated by electronic "four-on-the-floor" beats and mixtape rappers, Adele provided a breath of fresh air to the singer-songwriter market. Following in her footsteps may seem like an impossible task to any new artist, but one London singer isn't afraid to let the world share in her heartbreak. The wonderfully soulful singer Lianne La Havas is prepared to step up to the microphone and let her voice shine with her major label debut record Is Your Love Big Enough?
Her record starts off with the haunting "Don't Wake Me Up", with a harmonized vocal intro that really showcases her range as a soul vocalist. Very quickly, you learn that this record will be filled with great harmonies and "barely-there" production that never overshadows La Havas's vocals. Some of the best moments on Is Your Love Big Enough? are when La Havas is just singing over a piano or her acoustic guitar. Even though she is a multi-instrumentalist, she definitely doesn't need to overdo her songs with heavy production. The sparse drumming and chorused piano really add to the folk sound that fits her voice perfectly.
The third track on the album "Lost & Found" brings to mind a vision of La Havas in a smokey dark jazz club with a spotlight on her and her piano, singing "You broke me / and taught me / to truly hate myself." As she lets each syllable out, you can feel the pain and honesty in her voice. Throughout the album, the theme of love lost ties each song together, but never becomes repetitive. She keeps the topic fresh with introspective lyrics and gorgeous vocal melodies.
If there is a hit single on this record, it is definitely "Gone". Accompanied by only her piano, La Havas details her raw, honest account of love gone wrong. She explains that "Love is not blind, it's just deaf and it is dumb" and you believe her. Without question, her flawless vocals and revealing lyrics makes this a surefire radio hit a la Adele's "Someone Like You". I'll even go as far as to say that "Gone" is a better written song, both musically and lyrically. There's no doubt that she has suffered through a failed love and you, as the listener, feel like she is giving an exclusive look inside her heart. Her lyrics perfectly capture the moment when you realize that what you believed about someone ends up being a lie and the pain associated with that realization.
Is Your Love Big Enough? is a magnificent debut record from a singer who has the lasting power, vocal prowess and musicianship to really stand out in today's industry. Fresh off her North American tour with Bon Iver and her nomination to BBC's Sound of 2012 poll, the question isn't "if" but only "when" Lianne La Havas will become a household name.
Oh, I was going to review this one actually. I won't bother now. This is a good.
I think this is album is an enjoyable record. It has enough groove and soul to make it entertaining and an easy listen, yet also has enough meaning and thought gone into the production for those who'd like something to think about and savour. And it's very feminine, which makes it charming.
I think it would have improved if the songs were a little more diverse, I know she tried to do that with gone and some other stuff on there, but perhaps a change of guitar would have brought in that diversity I feel it needs.