Monday 27 February 2012

Lianne La Havas - Forget EP

Anyone worried that La Havas's restrained soul was edging on repetitive, look no further than her latest EP, 'Forget'. It's more diverse than previous EP 'Lost and Found' with the dreamy No Room For Doubt, showing us a different side to her work and proving there's more to this lady than at first listen.

It begins with the gritty guitar opening of title track Forget. Combined with the drums and synth wobbles, the music poses a suitable juxtaposition to La Havas's silky vocal. It's not what you'd expect from the singer, but it's a welcome contrast. Next up is a live version of a newly written track Au Cinema, the introduction of which shows her capacity to laugh at herself despite her 'serious artiste' persona. The central electric guitar riff shuffles along, the jazz harmonies creating a nuanced rise and fall of tension and release. It's a track with far more urgency than her more laidback material. At the centre of the EP is a demo version of Gone. It's clear that ballads are La Havas's forte and this track is no exception. A stripped back, voice and piano affair, it's with this track that her vocal is in full force. It begins with barely a whisper but by the end she's belting out the chorus in a stream of raw emotion - "What the heck man, last time I checked man we had it all and it was just me and you / So what happened to you? I thought I knew you, no more chances - I'm gone". And with a touching final breath the music fades. Same As Me is a more standard jazz piece - lovely in its own way but typical of the La Havas's we already know. Finally, there's a reworking of first track Forget by Two Inch Punch. It's a well processed, dubstep remix in James Blake style. The apparent simplicity of her work lends itself to remixes which here makes an interesting antithesis.

Central to her sound is an incredible vocal that melts like butter. Yet with the mix of styles and the inclusion of both a demo and live track on this EP, it's clear La Havas is willing to test the water with something a little different - she's an artist who's not afraid to take a risk. With 'Forget' it definitely pays off.


Listen: 'Forget' and 'Lost and Found' are available now. Her self-titled debut album is expected in May.

Watch: La Havas will be performing in the UK in March