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Lianne La Havas first came to my attention when I watched her performing on 'Later With Jools Holland, one of the few television programmes I try not to miss. I had never heard of her until then and was quite awe-struck as she serenaded the audience with 'Age', one of the quite brilliant tracks on this album. That was in late 2011 and as a result my interest in this new artist was piqued. As soon as her debut album 'Is Your Love Big Enough?' came out in July 2012, I downloaded it. The title of the album is also the title of the second track on it.
There are twelve tracks on this album. I think that was clever on the part of La Havas and her record label (Warner Bros) as there are definitely no fillers. Every track stands on its own feet. The iTunes Deluxe edition has got four 'bonus' Live tracks.
The tracks on the standard edition album which is the one I have are:
1. Don't Wake Me Up
2. Is Your Love Big Enough?
3. Lost & Found
4. Au Cinéma
5. No Room For Doubt
9. Everything Everything
11. Tease Me
12. They Could Be Wrong
All the tracks, apart from one ('Elusive') on the album were co-wrote by La Havas and her producer Matt Hales. Elusive is attributed to Scott Matthews.
Leaving aside backing vocals, Lianne La Havas is a solo singer in all of them apart from 'No Room For Doubt' which features Willy Mason. On her website, La Havas cites Nina Simone and Lauryn Hill as some of her influences. Listening to her music, that influence is immediately apparent. The various tracks are a fusion of folk, soul and jazz which is delivered sublimely by La Havas. Before embarking on her solo career, La Havas did a short stint of backing vocals for Paloma Faith.
My favourite tracks on the album are 'Age'; 'They Could Be Wrong' and the powerful ballad 'Gone' with its astonishing soulful delivery accompanied by just the piano. Powerful stuff.
I went to see La Havas perform live at the O2 Academy in Liverpool on March the 1st, 2013. She sang and played the guitar in all of the songs except for 'Gone' where she delivered the spine-tingling vocals sans instrument with only Willy Mason at the piano accompanying. An incredible experience.
La Havas comes across as very comfortable playing the guitar while doing the solo singing. It is astonishing to think that she supposedly only learnt to play the guitar when she was 18. As I write this in 2013, La Havas is only 23.
The up-tempo 'Forget' which Lianne La Havas introduces playfully as a "hate song" during live performances and encourages the audience to sing along borrows more from the folk genre when compared to the other songs. It actually fits comfortably within the album banishing any charge of the artist being one-dimensional.
Overall, the album delivers the sort of music only seen from an artist who is serious about the quality and timelessness of the product. La Havas' powerful and emotive vocals do justice to these tracks which I have been happy to listen to time and again and I am sure you will be too.
Over the years I have discovered many artists through Later with Jools Holland. One of the more recent artist discoveries has been Lianne La Havas who is a 22 year old folk soul singer who hails from London. In 2010, Lianne signed to Warner Bros. Records though she wouldn't release her debut album until 2012 after spending two years writing songs and touring on a couple of EPs. Her first EP was "Lost & Found" and was released on 21st October 2011, she followed that with a Live EP called ".Live From LA" which was available as a free download on her website. As I had seen her on Later with Jools Holland I was really intrigued to hear the two EPs so downloaded both and became a fan of her music. I was really looking forward to her first album release and started to promote her music to some of my followers on Twitter who were also rather impressed.
**Is Your Love Big Enough?**
This is of course the debut studio release from Lianne La Havas and It was released in the United Kingdom on 9 July 2012 through Warner Bros. The album was produced by Matt Hales and La Havas wrote or co wrote all of the songs on the album except "elusive" which was penned by Scott Matthews. The album has been well received critically and also commercially with a highest chart position of four in the UK. I was counting down the days until the album was released and downloaded the album from amazon a couple of days after it was released.
1.) Don't wake me up
This is a lovely opener which features some excellent backing vocals which combine well with Lianne's lead vocals to start things off. The dark piano comes in after a minute or so and then the song develops with a slow drum beat which combines superbly with the lovely vocals and gentle guitar. This is a lovely soulful ballad which showcases the effortlessness of her voice and also the talent she has for putting a song together to the best effect. I like the way the song develops and the way the backing vocals blend with her lead vocals. An excellent opener.
2.) Is your love big enough
This is the Title Track from the album and has an interesting guitar and beat opening with Lianne's excellent emotive vocals coming in. This is one of more well known tracks on the album after being released as a single in May. It's a lovely meandering up tempo track which slows then builds again well. There's a joyous moment towards the end when her vocals soar and she shows off her vocal range to great effect. The music also gets louder and also brings something to the song.
3.) Lost & Found
This is a lovely ballad with gentle percussion and lovely piano playing, Lianne's vocals again shine on this lovely stripped down track which really showcases her vocal purity and beauty. She really showcases her vocal talent on this one with some lovely runs and gentle intonation. I love the way that the song develops and the lyrics come across really well with a lovely sincerity. This is one of the best tracks on the album and has a really nice sound.
4.) Au Cinema
This is a lovely smooth track with gentle guitar and percussion with her gentle expressive vocals shining again. She's backed well by the catchy beats which soon kick in and also the backing vocals which blend well with her lead vocals. The track has some lovely subtle moments along with being one of the catchiest tracks on the album with some nice guitar licks and punchy beats. I really like the way the song develops and moves along with a unique feel. Really good stuff.
5.) No Room for doubt
This track features Willy Mason who co wrote a couple of tracks on the album. It's a lovely duet which features gentle guitar and Lianne's vocal purity is beautiful to hear alongside the distinctive laid back vocal from Mason who does pretty well. This is one of the slower tracks on the album and one of the best too. I love the way the guitar stays slow and subtle alongside the lovely vocals from both but Lianne La Havas in particular. This is a lovely song.
This is one of the more up tempo moments on the album, It opens with a raw electric guitar sound then the beats come in after Lianne's lovely voice. The track again features backing vocals but they don't work as well as on the other songs as they are a bit too near the edge for my liking but Lianne's vocals are still good. This track showcases the range of Lianne La Havas as an artist which in my opinion is an important thing for any quality artist. This track is certainly something different from the other tracks on the album but somehow works.
This is a very pleasant track which has an old school feel with elements of Jazz which combine well with the Folk feel. She combines elements of Colbie Caillat with Jason Mraz to create a nice sound which works rather well. The gentle melodic guitar plays along with her vocals and the old style feel is brought into the modern day extremely well. I love the way she moves through the song with her vocals in such a fluid, relaxed manner. Another strong track.
Here's the only track from the album which doesn't include any songwriting credit from Lianne La Havas. It's still an excellent track though. the writer was Scott Matthews and his lyrics are well emoted by La Havas. The gentle guitar and keys combine well with the beat and the vocals from Lianne. I love the way she moves through the lyrics keeping the emotion of the song wonderfully well. The track is about a lover going missing from you and wanting them back. Good stuff.
9.) Everything, Everything
This track follows on from much of the sound of the album with lovely vocals and emotive musical backing which underpins things well. It starts gently with some gentle guitar and Lianne's superb blunt vocals come in with great effect. I like the way that the song builds as the other instruments come in, first we have the drums which come in gently and then the keys which are subtle in the background. This is one of the best tracks on the album and showcases her relaxed and extremely emotive delivery. Good stuff.
This was the track which made the biggest impact on me, It's a beautiful ballad which has a stripped down feel with just Lianne on the piano with her extremely emotive vocals on this wonderful track about looking back on a relationship that has ended. Her voice is superb on this one in particular and many will relate to this track if they've had a tough breakup when they still loved that person. This has got to be one of the greatest songs of 2012 and shows what a talent she is. I love that the song features just her vocals and the Piano. It results in an extremely emotive, extremely sincere moment. Quite superb.
11.) Tease Me
The track is about temptation and how it works out in a relationship. Lianne's vocals are excellent again on this track which has some catchy guitar parts which combine well with the vocals and the song is just the catchy guitar and her vocals which are backed by the backing vocalists who do a decent job on this on. This is another excellent track from the album. Good stuff.
12.) They Could Be Wrong
This is the final track from the album and is one of the more up tempo moments on "Is your love big enough". The track is about being in a relationship when people around you say that you aren't right for each other. It shows the troubles in any relationship where things aren't always so good. It's a catchy track with some excellent guitar parts which combines well with the drums to bring a nice flow to the overall sound. Good stuff.
This is a very good debut indeed which reaffirms my belief in her as an artist. She has a great voice and her songwriting is deep and personal and of course many people can relate to the words in her songs. This album will undoubtedly be one of the best debuts of 2012 and will hopefully mean that she becomes a very well known artist indeed. I would love to see her live and can't wait to hear new material from her in the next couple of years. She is a great talent. One to certainly watch out for in the near future. "Is your love big enough" is a very strong debut album.