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The Boston Globe

Music

La Havas raises her profile without raising her voice

The most telling moment on
Lianne La Havas’s debut isn’t the one that immediately draws your attention. It wasn’t even a hit. But “Au Cinéma,” a love song that imagines a new romance the way it happens in a movie, captures the various shades that made La Havas one of England’s more compelling exports last year. Fingerpicked on electric guitar, it’s sultry and unassuming to the point of sounding more like a conversation than a song.

On her first headlining tour of this country, which stops at the Sinclair for a sold-out show on Saturday, La Havas arrives on these shores something of an unknown pleasure. In a post-Adele pop landscape, where every female English singer-songwriter unfairly gets compared to her, La Havas is not as easy to pin down on her debut, “Is Your Love Big Enough?” Not quite straight folk, it still has a spare, acoustic charm reminiscent of Bill Withers. Other times it conjures Sade’s way with a sly turn of phrase.

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