Larkin Poe – Kin (2014)

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Larkin Poe

Kin

Wow! A debut album that will set the tongues wagging in Music Town

I first saw Rebecca and Megan Lovell — a.k.a. Larkin Poe — three or four years ago, as a support act in the upstairs room of a very small pub. There were as many people on stage as there were paying customers, but their musicianship on their acoustic instruments and charming performance has brought the band back to the U.K. twice a year ever since. And, their ever-growing and appreciative crowds are a testament to their hard work and the quality of their songs.

Even though I saw them three times in 2013 — Rebecca now plays an electric guitar as well as her mandolin and acoustic guitar,alongside Megan’s lap-steel and Dobro — nothing has prepared me for this album; absolutely nothing.

During the opening 30 seconds of “Jailbreak”, I had to pick up the album sleeve to confirm this was still Larkin Poe; and it most definitely is. The tight rock sound and cool guitar breaks ain’t nothing like any of their previous self-released EP’s….”We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto!”

Once I’d got over my initial shock, “Jailbreak” and what follows is a perfect example of alt-country or what we used to call AOR/soft-rock at it’s very best, and it’s all radio friendly in a good way.

Mercifully, producers Chris Seefried and Damien Lewis have not only kept the Lovells’ trademark harmonies to the fore but actually made them a feature; and, in doing so, made Larkin Poe sound completely different from everyone else in the marketplace.

On “Stubborn Love,” these harmonies are exceptional, but Megan’s smoky lead voice will have men going weak at the knees the world over, as she delivers her lines like a mischievous temptress. My favourite track is the pumping “Sugar High,” which has echoes of Melissa Etheridge and Sheryl Crow at their very best, but the guitar playing is pure Tom Petty channeling Vince Gill. The love song “Jesse” is actually quite staggering in its swamp rock simplicity and mantra-like chorus. In my mind, this is the song Stevie Nicks has been searching 20 years for!

From start to finish, I nodded my head in time to the rocking beat and, when playing the album in the car, had to keep checking the speedo because my right foot was tapping hard on the pedal.

When the album came to an end with Rebecca playing the piano on the heart-achingly beautiful “Overachiever,” it gave me a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. Her expressively smoky voice tells a starkly personal tale.

Kin is being announced as Larkin Poe’s debut album, which it is in many ways. It is, being a completely new direction for what was recently a folk-based duo who had released 8 EPs (with seven or eight tracks on each). But, this album is the first day of the rest of their very successful lives.

www.larkinpoe.com

released September 2014

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