Album Review: Lianne La Havas - Blood

4/5

At time of writing, Lianne La Havas is locked in a battle for UK number one with indie rockers, The Maccabees. Topping the charts would be a fitting coronation for the Londoner, who looks more and more like a proper pop star.

Where her 2012 debut, Is Your Love Big Enough?, was undercut by a consistent jitteriness (in person, La Havas was soft-spoken and plainly unsure of herself), on Blood she has grown into a voice that segues from imperious to playfully sensual.

An amateur psychologist might wonder whether her unlikely friendship with Prince has played a part. Pop’s purple eccentric was an early champion of La Havas — speaking to the Irish Examiner in 2013, she laughingly recalled receiving a call from him while she was in the pub with friends, and having to stand outside in the smoking area as he cooed her praises.

Whatever the reason, with her second LP, La Havas displays tremendous assurance — taking risks she might previously have been talked out of (such as using particle physics as a metaphor for romantic travails, on the single, ‘Unstoppable’).

Where the record falls down is in its production, which cleaves to the post-Amy Winehouse soul-jazz formula to which every British female singer is apparently legally obliged to adhere. Thus, occasional hints of rawness in La Havas’s voice and lyrics are smoothed over by tidy arrangements and glossy instrumentation. Still, if Blood’s purpose was to confirm La Havas’s credentials as a star, it is working. Come the weekend, there is every possibility she will be sitting on top of the charts.


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