Big things are expected of Lianne La Havas this year. Having signed to Warner Bros in 2010, she spent her time developing her craft before garnering much attention last year with a stand out performance on Jools Holland. Bon Iver shared the stage with her that night and subsequently invited her on tour, and none other than Prince is said to have contacted her inviting her to work with him, after watching a concert she streamed online.
Her talent is laid bare on her debut, where her sweet, elegant voice meanders through the mostly restrained instrumentation, whether it’s her delicate guitar picking or dainty piano. This restraint brings some nice moments, such as 'Elusive and Lost & Found', a beautiful vocal performance with heartbreaking lyrical content: "You broke me and taught me to truly hate myself," she sings. It is also responsible, however, for the weaker tracks on the album, 'Everything Everything' and 'Tease Me', which lack the weight required to really have an impact on the listener.
Lyrically La Havas is warmly conversational and openly autobiographical and it’s no surprise that the strongest tracks here are the most passionate ones where she lets her hair down, vocally and musically. Title track 'Is Your Love Big Enough?' is an empowering number reminiscent of Alicia Keys while 'Forget', with it’s funky guitar riff and bass groove is a blunt message to her ex-boyfriend. 'Au Cinéma' is the stand out track here though, a sophisticated, brooding track with shades of film noir that threatens to explode without ever needing to.
It’s clear that at the age of 22, Lianne La Havas has the world at her feet, and this is a solid debut highlighting both her strengths and her weaknesses. It will certainly endear her to listeners, who will be eager to hear her grow as an artist. As she herself croons on 'Au Cinéma', time to find out where the story goes.