Lianne La Havas’ self-titled album was a musical highlight of 2020, an impressive evocation of a romance, starting and ending with a break-up. Many of the reviews suggested that La Havas was only now hitting her stride with this third album, a surely foolish idea considering the strength of previous albums Is Your Live Big Enough? and Blood.
Promotion of Lianne La Havas was restricted due to Covid-19, but before the release in February La Havas performed at the Barbican in London with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Jules Buckley (broadcast later by BBC Radio); she also performed online on different occasions, including a live streamed concert in July from the London Roundhouse (tracks from which are featured here).
This EP, “intended as a balm at a time when live music is all but impossible due to the pandemic”, includes the self-titled album tracks “Seven Times,” “Paper Thin,” “Courage,” and “Bittersweet,” as well as “Midnight” from previous album Blood.
La Havas is extraordinarily talented – she is a great guitarist and vocalist, so the question is not so much whether this EP is good but whether it goes any further than the original studio recordings on the album.
Performed acoustically, these tracks become more introspective in nature (particularly on “Paper Thin”) with more focus on La Havas’ voice. “Seven Times” twists and turns with interesting melody, and “Courage” is reminiscent of the cool strength of Nina Simone. La Havas’ soaring vocal on “Bittersweet” and “Midnight” are standouts (and she is joined on these two tracks by vocalist Frida Touray).
This is a highly enjoyable EP with an element of immediacy due to the performance; essential for super-fans, and a pleasure for anyone else.
Label: Warner Records
Release Date: 18 DEC 2020