It’s been a good time for the women. At some point during the last couple of years, round about when Adele started selling albums by the bucket load, the big wigs in the big towers at the record labels had the same epiphany they do every five or six years and realised women can make music. Not only can women make music but they can make them money. So they dusted down that well worn, but always necessary, copy of ‘How to Talk to the Fairer Sex: Volume One of Six’, and went out to find a lovely lady that would fit the Adele / Amy / Jessie shaped mould and make them loadsa money.
Obviously when you put profit over knowing what’s actually good you can fall flat on your face. There have been some terrible wannabe divas paraded in front of the public. What’s that. You don’t remember them. Well, you don’t remember because they were that bad no one could even muster up the energy to think about them. I only remember a faint glimpse of brunette wig and a gravely, cockney accent but after that it’s a blur.
Yeah these things usually end badly but once in a while. Oh thank the Lord, once in a blue moon the record execs actually mange to do their job and find the real deal. The real deal for 2012 is Lianne La Havas, the women who’s been on the tip of everyone’s tongue lately.
The South London girl released her debut album Is Your Love Big Enough on 9 July. Fans of Havas will be happy to know that her trademark soulful vocals and sparse, experimental guitar style feature heavily on the album. Influences as varied as Lou Reed, Jill Scott and Mary J. Blige can be heard in the debut.
‘Forget’ is an up-tempo witty song about getting back at an ex and is definitely a highlight of the album. Opener ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’ plays on Havas’ strong points; purring vocals and jazz and soul fused riffs. ‘Tease Me’ is a quiet, big song that sees Havas document relationships in the honest way she knows best.
There are times where Havas slightly slips into the MOR, dinner party background music area, which is disappointing considering what Havas is capable of. Overall though Is Your Love Big Enough is a pretty well rounded debut with hints at greater things to come. At the moment Havas is balancing her artistic credentials with being a commercial success and the quality of her next release will depend on which road she chooses to go down.