Larkin Poe, Thick as Thieves, Larkin Poe
From the sub-Jools Holland intro (‘Fox’) to the variation on Eleanor Rigby final track (‘Russian Roulette’), the Lovell sisters have some explainin’ to do and by heck, you’d better get in your folk-rocking chair and do some listenin’.
Sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell front Larkin Poe, a band generated after the departure of their eldest sister from their bluegrass-y band the Lovell Sisters. The sisters drive Larkin Poe forward without only a few backwards glances: at the many-times-over-great grandfather whose name the band carries, at the basic musical forms that they nostalgically appropriate for their plucky take on the modern folk rock renaissance.
In 2011 the sisters released four EPs as Larkin Poe, one for each season of the year. That they have another EP, Thick as Thieves, ready for public consumption already is admirable but leaves them justifiably open to the accusation of delivering up fast-food music; hastily arranged and covered in a slick of high-end production which, while allowing the songs to slide down your lughole easy, doesn’t quite mask the flavour of skimping on quality control. It seems unlikely, for example, that the aforementioned opening and closing tracks would have survived a rigorous selection process of, say, a year’s worth of tracks for inclusion onto, say, an album. Second track ‘Play On’ is stronger, but is still essentially a jam around half of a Shakespeare quotation (“If music be the food of love…”). A further exploration of that device might have led the sisters to realising that that quotation actually ends with a cynical twist which undermines the divertissement they attempt in this particular song.
The central triptych of ‘Love or Money’, ‘Celebrate’ and ‘Make It Hurt’ has the sisters on a more solid hickory-smoked footing, although the sisters prefer to approach themes of heartbreak with instagrammed southern comfort softness rather than the harsh poignancy that other artists might’ve chosen to employ. ‘Celebrate’ is without a doubt the stand-out track on this latest distinctly vintage, bourbon tinged, swagger of an EP. It is more accomplished, danceable music to which you can bite your lip while jutting a shoulder to its bitter sweet beat.
Larkin Poe promise another studio record later this year and are touring extensively. Let’s hope they can find time to discover the emotional heart of their songs before the next record release. It’s there, but struggling to be heard.
Larkin Poe are on tour this July. Find out if they’re playing near you here, and let the girls are have your thoughts by posting below.