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Review: LP, diminutive singer with big voice, lays it out

December 12, 2018
This cover image released by BMG/Vagrant shows "Heart to Mouth", by LP. (BMG/Vagrant via AP)
This cover image released by BMG/Vagrant shows "Heart to Mouth", by LP. (BMG/Vagrant via AP)

LP, “Heart to Mouth” (BMG/Vagrant)

There’s a reference to shape-shifting tucked into the lyrics of “When I’m Over You,” the second song on LP’s new album, “Heart to Mouth,” and it didn’t get there by accident.

Over the course of a dozen new songs, the diminutive singer works in enough different styles to draw comparisons to some of the world’s greats — and yet she doesn’t sound quite like any of them.

It works because LP is an enormous talent. Her heart-baring vulnerability makes this a rock-solid follow-up to the widely-praised “Lost on You” — and arrives in time to earn best-of consideration for 2018.

On “Dreamcatcher,” close your eyes and hear Stevie Nicks. On “Girls Go Wild,” the playfully bouncing bass line echoes early Madonna, but with better singing. And the show-stopping heartbreak ballad, “Recovery,” suggests Adele at her pour-it-on best.

The shape-shifting doesn’t end there. Other cuts call to mind everything from the power-anthem R&B vibe of Beyonce to the smoldering vibrato of Grace Slick, the commanding Jefferson Airplane singer.

LP really is that good.

“Heart to Mouth” succeeds because she sings with such uncloaked passion and urgency. Her big voice conveys the same don’t-care-what-you-think confidence as the album’s cover photo, in which the singer slouches in an orange chair against an orange background, wearing an orange polyester suit that doesn’t entirely cover the sailing ship tattooed across her chest.

Sure, she may not care what you think. But she has put it all out there this time.

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