Seamlessly following on from debut album ~how I’m feeling~, certified chart-topper Lauv returns with sophomore album All 4 Nothing – a stunning collection of close to home confessionals that cements his status as an extraordinary storyteller.
“It’s a perfect world until it’s not”, with intoxicating vocals and a big chorus, atmospheric opener “26” effortlessly sets the tone for the rest of the album: brutally honest and beautifully cathartic. Soaring euphoria meets an addictive kind of heartache where Lauv – aka Ari Leff – allows smooth basslines to wrap around notoriously slick beats. In short – it’s Lauv as we know and love him. Tracks like crowd favourite in the making “Kids Are Born Stars" – that features an adorable appearance of little Joshua – or “Time After Time” – THE anthem for starcrossed lovers - leave absolutely no room for doubt that Leff has mastered the art of songwriting.
But it’s the final third of the album, introduced by intervention track “Hey Ari”, that sees All 4 Nothing take a dramatic turn to the vulnerable. Dressed in a soft veil of gentle guitars and a subdued piano, Leff talks openly about addiction and the downfalls of substance abuse. If “Bad Trip” is a (literal) cry for help, “I (Don’t) Have A Problem” is the most significant song on the record. Not least because it falls out of line and showcases a more stripped back production. Without an upbeat mask to hide behind, Leff's confessional lyricism leaves a haunting aftertaste as he addresses his demons: “I love you / I need you / but I hate you.”
Some people might have left it right there; ending the album with the lingering feeling of pain, and leaving their audience with the ghost of an unhappy ending because it’s effective and makes you keep turning the page – hoping, praying for another chapter. But not Leff. Instead he turns despair into hope with one final piano ballad. The message – it’s going to be okay.
Intoxicating soundscapes and irresistible hooks have long catapulted Leff to the top of the pop sphere. All 4 Nothing not only reaffirms this notion, it’s perfect proof that there is so much more to come; a glimpse into the depths of Lauv’s psyche and unlimited creative potential.