The London singer released a new album on Friday full of sweetness, soul-folk melodies and jazz harmonies. But it tends to repeat itself.
Alone with her guitar, she walks near the microphone. Colored wool sweater, dreadlocks thrown back, she plays her first felted chords tinged with jazz then poses her soft voice before bringing out the soul of her very special vibrato. Chills … behind the screen. Wednesday in London, Lianne La Havas was playing not for a live audience but in front of a camera. Broadcast live on YouTube to everyone who bought their ticket, the Covid-compatible concert aimed to unveil to the world the new album of the singer, available since Friday.
Entitled soberly “Lianne La Havas”, this third disc is the first for five years and the excellent “Blood”. This soul-jazz nugget with polished instrumentation then confirmed the full extent of the composer’s talent and the vocal possibilities of the one who had amazed Prince at her debut, in 2012. So much so that the Kid of Minneapolis had taken her under his belt. wing for multiple collaborations, in studio as on stage.
Recycling of jazz chords
It was the first love of this Briton, born to a Jamaican mother and a Greek father, and to the album “Is Your Love Big Enough?” that is more akin to this new opus. A return to the sources, to bittersweet melodies as suggested by the first title “Bittersweet”, and closer to the melancholic ballads guitar-voice of its beginnings, like the bewitching “Green Papaya”.
It is no coincidence that the Londoner chose the solo performance this Wednesday evening, beginning this opening with three intimate songs from her first album, far from the more pop hits of “Blood”. From this backtrack – as pleasing as it may be – this third album nevertheless suffers from a form of recycling of its jazzy chords played in arpeggios with reverb effect. And a repetition within the project – the singles “Bittersweet” and “Paper Thin” sometimes follow the same harmonic sequences.
A cover of Radiohead
But Lianne La Havas, who is piloting the production of this cake for the first time, still has this fragility in her voice. This ability to capture the essence of soul when she sings the pain of a romantic breakup (the overwhelming “Courage”) or to enrich her pop melodies with blue notes and an unstoppable groove (“Can’t Fight”) ).
Still in her comfort zone, the thirty-something takes up “Weird Fishes”, one of the most beautiful little-known titles from Radiohead, which she already used to play on stage eight years ago. It looks like it is finally immortalized in the studio, and reinterpreted here with flying colors. The moving and luminous “Sour Flower”, which concludes this disc in a cry from the heart, calls for a rebirth after the rupture. As if, in the storm, the nostalgic need to go back was a necessary step to better take off.
Posted: Jul 18, 2020, 6:55 p.m.