Saturday, 26 September 2015

Review: Lianne La Havas – Blood

Top tracks: Unstoppable, Grow, Never Get Enough

It’s time for another music post, and by some crazy coincidence this album also contains ‘blood’ in the title. What is that saying about me?!
As I mentioned back in July, Lianne La Havas’ first album, Is Your Love Big Enough?, is one of my all-time favourite albums, so I had colossal expectations for this one. No pressure.
Having heard the track Unstoppable before the album was released, I was anticipating a change in style with this second album. Blood has a much more electronic foundation than the more acoustic and guitar-led melodies of Is Your Love Big Enough?

Although in this sense the new album was somewhat experimental, I would say that the individual songs don’t feel as adventurous as they do in the first album. One of the things I love about Is Your Love Big Enough? is how each track has its own unique personality and sound. Blood, on the other hand, has much more of an overarching sound or theme, if you like.
That’s not to say that I don’t like Blood as much; I still adore the album. The songs are just as beautifully written, with La Havas’ winning mix of simple yet sultry verses and eruptive choruses, which showcase the best of her dreamy vocals. Lianne La Havas has a stunningly rich tone and her vibrato is to die for. Singers, y’all will know what I’m talking about. 
The album begins with the layered opening of Unstoppable, which slowly builds sounds, instruments and vocal parts one on top of the other before the jazz-like beat kicks in. One thing La Havas’ continually excels with is the conversation between lyrics and sound, and this spaced-themed metaphoric song is no exception.
The following two tracks, Green & Gold and What You Don’t Do, fall more within the pop and R&B brackets and boast catchy hooks, whilst steering well clear of any pop clichés and common-sounding melodic patterns or repetitions.
Though Blood certainly has a predominant musical vibe, there are variances in style with the hypnotic Wonderful and more acoustic Ghost and Goodbye, which give the album the texture it needs.
The most adventurous track in terms of deviating from this recurrent sound is Never Get Enough, and it’s one of the best songs on the album in my opinion. I love the duplicated/layered main vocal part in the verses and the distortion which dominates the choruses. It effectively conveys conflicted feelings and the sense of being trapped into the wrong decisions by love or infatuation, which is what I drew from the lyrics.
My favourite song, though, has to be Grow. And I’m finding it hard to find the words to explain how great this song is. It combines the very best of La Havas’ raw vocal emotion and her stellar song-writing. You know those songs that are so good it hurts to listen to or sing them? Yep, this is one.

As much as I love Blood, I’m not sure it quite tops Is Your Love Big Enough? for me, but it’s still an amazing album. And if you’ve never listened to Lianne La Havas, I urge you to pick up one of her albums. Like, right now.

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