Album Review: Lianne La Havas – Blood

lianne la havas blood cover

Lianne La Havas returns with fuller sound on second album ‘Blood’
Lianne La Havas made quite an impression in the music industry with her debut album Is Your Love Big Enough? in 2012. The singer-songwriter entered the British and Dutch charts in the top 5 and the record was named the best of 2012 at the iTunes Awards. She was nominated for two MoBo Awards as well a year later. Needless to say, the anticipation for a second album was building and now it’s finally here. Lianne La Havas launched the short, but sweet Blood.

When La Havas released the first single ‘Unstoppable’ (co-written and produced by Paul Epworth, who is responsible for some of Adele’s biggest hits) in April, it was immediately clear that her sound evolved from mostly acoustic singer-songwriter territory, to full-blown neo-soul with bigger instrumentation and productions. The breezy and atmospheric set high expectations for Blood and second single ‘What You Don’t Do’ didn’t disappoint with a swinging vibe, a gospel choir in the chorus and a few irrestible hooks. For the creation of this album Lianne La Havas travelled to Jamaica, where part of her roots lie. On the tracks ‘Green and Gold’ and ‘Midnight’ she sings about exploring her own (Jamaican and Greek) background and this results in two swinging tracks full of remembering her past and this almost comes across as a spiritual experience for La Havas.

La Havas’ debut mostly consisted of acoustic folky tracks with sweet, crystal clear and sometimes fragile vocals, but on Blood she gives herself more room to surprise with her voice. The chorus of ‘Grow’ that is ruled by loud drums, gives her the opportunity to belt away in an intense manner we did not hear from her before. She takes this even further on ‘Never Get Enough’ where she goes all raw over an unusual arrangement of electronic rock. For the fans of folky Lianne (well let’s just admit we all are) there’s the fragile ballad ‘Tokyo’ that deals with a painful break up, leaving Lianne hearbroken in Tokyo. “I’m out of sight, I’m out of mind, in Tokyo”, she sings softly. “All I’ve ever known is how to be alone, it comes naturally”, she adds, showing her ability to write right from the heart in a touching and recognizable way.

Lianne’s soul and folk come together perfectly on ‘Wonderful’ that is driven by a low bass in the verses, some guitar, backing vocalists and of course her gorgeous voice that feels like a warm bath every time she starts singing. The melody of the track is captivating, almost hypnotizing, but in a truly pleasant way and this goes for the record as a whole as well. Lianne La Havas still is a great songwriter, she added more depth to her sound and brings a greatly produced second album that makes clear she is hear to stay.

Must listen: Unstoppable, What You Don’t Do, Wonderful, Grow, Green and Gold

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