First Listen: Lianne La Havas- Is Your Love Big Enough?
On a blustery May evening, I arrived at Soho House basement (...the poshest basement in all of London) for the awaited arrival of Lianne La Havas' debut album, Is Your Love Big Enough? Saying that, it's lucky I even made it there without a broken collarbone. See, basements tend to be underground...and what do you need whilst walking down a flight of steep, winding stairs? Yep, you need 'light'. Some may say that turning all the lights off in hope that the romantic candle light illuminating the basement will create an atmosphere similar to La Havas' music...whilst others would say it's a health and safety hazard. Whilst candles are nice 'n' all, on this occasion I agree with the latter.
Since the portrayal of her spell bounding talent and likability from her Later...with Jools Holland performance in October 2011, La Havas' has won the hearts of crowds all over Europe and North America by securing the support slot for Bombay Bicycle Club and Bon Iver. The ex Paloma Faith backing singer released her debut EP Lost & Found on the very same day as her television debut and has since then enjoyed steady and humble ascendance into the heights of the music industry.
Here are some of the highlights:
Don't Wake Me Up
Just like a scolding knife sinking its way through butter, 'Don't wake me up' holds the listener in a firm hypnotic grasp as the gentle tones send you into a dreamy slumber. The purity of the muffled guitars complement the sugary soul of La Havas' vocals, showcasing undeniable talent from the word go.
No Room For Doubt
A stunning duet with Willy Mason that combines robust, masculine tones with angelic delicacy. Like the majority of the record, the tender yet haunting melody is minimalist and simple, just as wonderful music intends to be.
It's that guitar. That unpredictable, grubby and yet, completely domineering guitar. Then the stomping bass line makes an appearance, backing up the guitar like a pack of hungry hyenas surrounding the carcass of their perished prey. Being remixed to death already, 'Forget' is flexible and exasperatingly likeable.
La Havas has been described as having 'the most striking voice since Adele', which lets face it, is a hell of a statement. But I'm not sure many people would argue with it. 'Gone' is an angry, relentless goodbye stripped down to the bear, bleeding core which showcases La Havas' range and unique pitch down to a tee with nothing more than a piano and a pair of lungs.
In thematic continuation from the previous track, 'Tease me' suggests a pining desire for a kind of unrequited love that can never be...a million miles from the 'Chase me! Chase me!' kind of teasing you may have first thought of, "I hate the way you tease me/ I'm not lonely, I'm alright/ but you sure don't make it easy."