In this age of fast and frenetic beats, Lianne La Havas’ slow-like-honey delivery is a scintillating rarity. It’s a trait that made Is Your Love Big Enough?, her 2012 debut, a brilliant novelty on the alternative pantheon.
Numbers such as Don’t Wake Me Up and Elusive are languid classics that drip with lush vocal precision and a deep sense of appreciation for sparse melodies. Those markings are personified, and ambitiously amplified, on the opening number of the London-born’s sophomore release.
“It’s just gravitational, we are unstoppable,” La Havas lulls on the lead off’s chorus. Unstoppable’s juggernaut climax is made even more arresting by the way the song takes its sweet time building the rich momentum.
That languorous genius is immediately followed by Green & Gold, an ethereal sun-kissed song that’s perfect for daydream. If anything, Blood is filled to the brim with light and breezy jazzy concoctions.
It’s a style that puts the 25-year-old in the same league as contemporaries such as Corinne Bailey Rae and Janelle Monae (albeit with a bit more refinement), but also places her within the trappings of a niche.
La Havas tries to break away from that exclusive circle on the doo-wop What You Don’t Do, a subtle Sara Bareilles-like effort that delicately frolics with the notion of a more commercial sound. But nothing could quite prepare one for the heads-will-roll surprise on the fervent Never Get Enough, an experiment that, while commendable, draws mixed results.
But if there’s one thing Blood avowedly showcases; it is La Havas’ ability as a masterful vocalist capable of both sophistication and soul.
Lianne La Havas