Lianne La Havas album review: soul singer’s self-titled third effort is a beautiful balance of loss and love

  • The record includes a brilliant cover or Radiohead’s ‘Weird Fishes’, while her track ‘Bittersweet’ sums up the album in its entirety
  • It’s all about the vocals, which are especially dynamic on ‘Courage’ and ‘Sour Flower’
Chris Gillett |
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Lianne La Havas

We already knew from her first two albums that Lianne La Havas is a force to be reckoned with. But she has never sounded more self-assured than now, as her self-titled third effort hits streaming services.

At the heart of this record, La Havas takes the bold step to cover Radiohead’s intricate gem Weird Fishes, and she knocks it out of the park. The song remains true to the original, but the 30-year-old has really made it her own, slowing down the tempo and allowing her warm vibrato to float above the wavering keyboard chords. Its brilliance inspires the sonic path for the rest of this album.

Bittersweet captures this mood from the start, with gently strummed guitar over a slow soul groove, while La Havas’ rich voice becomes increasingly more powerful and mature.

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Her vocals are incredible throughout the album, but it’s closers Courage and Sour Flower which best highlight her dynamic and emotional range.

The retro-folk guitar playing of Courage mixed with the jazz chord progressions pair perfectly with her dejected and heartfelt refrain, “So lonely now/Love is the only way down/Courage save me somehow/This is the only way out.”

Sour Flower is full of polyrhythm bongos and claps.

Every track here is a beautiful balance of tension, warmth, loss and love – and it sounds great.

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