Album Review: Lianne La Havas’ Blood

By Kristi Alexandra

Lianne La Havas is a singer with the wisdom and the chops of a woman twice her age, but the 25-year-old songwriter isn’t without her growing pains. The artist’s sophomore album Blood, released July 31 on Nonesuch Records — the label responsible for the Black Keys and Conor Oberst — puts her just at the fringe of other female artists like the late Amy Winehouse.

La Havas’ neo-soul-jazz touches on bubbling romance, especially with single “What You Don’t Do.” While it’s a catchy tune, it so far doesn’t seem to have the staying power that a song like “Rehab” does.

The London-born chanteuse harkens back to her Jamaican and Greek roots with “Green and Gold,” but doesn’t mind getting experimental with sophisticated jazz shimmers on other tunes. She picks up a guitar for the sultry electro-rock number “Never Get Enough,” showing she’s got more than just stage presence and a voice.

The bright lustre of La Havas’s vocals show off a confidence that years of practice seem to make possible, but a lack of depth and rasp show she’s still got more living to do. Or at least a bit more whiskey to drink.

Put together her cosmically-inspired lyrics on “Wonderful” and “Unstoppable,” you’ll see La Havas is creatively ambitious, if at times eccentric.
La Havas is the kind of person whose brain I’d like to pick. If Blood is any indication, she’s got an old soul. The only trouble is, she seems hesitant to really own it.

kristiprofileKristi Alexandra is an unabashed wino and wannabe musician. She mostly writes about musicians she wishes she could be.