Verdict: 2.5 / 5
The Brits seem to be flying the neo soul flag. If Lauren Hill and Erykah Badu have let the soul baton fall then La Havas attempts to pick it up again, if Alicia Keys has not done so already. La Havas plays around genres even more than Keys or Winehouse. ‘Is Your Love Big Enough’ is a composite not only of soul but adds pop and a wee bit of jazz and folk into the mix. Lyrically the album is concerned with affairs of the heart, no surprises there.
Opener, ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’ is a sparse tune, the many layered vocals driving the song. While it is an ok number it is not strong enough to merit favour. It is too subdued relying on tender vocals and harmonies that are well sung but weak melodically. The best part in the song is the warm guitar arpeggio that accompanies the vocals.
The album’s title track is an upbeat gospel tinged number. It sounds slightly weird in the bridge, when La Havas sings about ice-cream. Despite multiple listens boredom sets into the listening experience by the third song, ‘Lost and Found’. The album goes limp right at this point; too much cooing is a bad thing sometimes. ‘Au Cinema’ is an interesting track. Guitar arpeggios ripple pleasantly in the song which has a strong sense of urgency.
As for the rest of the album, most songs oscillate between sparse vocal driven tunes and jazzy numbers like ‘Age’. All of it is smooth and emotional but ultimately ‘Is Your Love Big Enough’ lacks oomph. The songs could have been polished more in the writing process. La Havas is an artist with potential and hopefully she will deliver more upon future releases.