Lianne La Havas: Blood

review havas x1 cong

A bit of a curate’s egg from Ms Barnes, with some songs swooningly nice and others gliding past the ears unheard, making as much fuss a quietly moving halibut.
Opener Unstoppable is one of the former, a sultry, a slow jazzy number reminiscent of a summer’s day and sun-dappled trees. Wonderful is stripped back to La Havas’s soulful vocals, piano and some finger-clicks, a little reminiscent of Minnie Ripperton’s classic Loving You. The finger-clicks rather cleverly carry on into the next track, the more upbeat Midnight.
Also good is Green And Gold, with its pleasant and understated jazzy guitar plucking. Closer Good Goodbye is a pleasing solemn folk tune, hopeful in its melancholy (“No-one ever really leaves you”).
There are some lovely moments but it’s let down a little by the songs where she goes poppier and thus more anodyne. The best instrument on the album is her voice and where she distracts from this with pop music, the effect is less pleasantly lazy and summery, and more somnambulistic (What You Don’t Do or Grow for example).
The title refers to her family; she’s of mixed Jamaican and Greek ancestry but nothing on here approaches the grooves of good reggae or the energy of Greek music, as she’s filtered both through the cool vibe of London.
She reminded us of Leeds singer Corinne Bailey Rae, whose work was admirable if a little pedestrian, but also of Sade at her peak. She should listen to more Sade, who had more groove (admittedly for only one album).
Still, some parts are really nice and we guess people who like female vocalists oozing into their ears will enjoy this; enjoy being the word; odd moments aside there’s nothing to really love.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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