Larkin Poe, “Summer” an EP
This second installment in the ambitious “seasonal” series is another remarkable effort. Shorter than “Spring”, but I’m not surprised, or disappointed in any way. 9 songs and 30 minutes of music is some bands annual output. And rarely as high quality. “Summer” clocks in at 6 songs and 19 minutes, each moment a pleasure. These young ladies do need to pace themselves after all. It is an EP, and there are 2 more to go.
“Praying For The Bell”, picks up where they left off. Another of Rebecca Lovell’s darker songs with its allusions of heartbreak as death. “Oh grim reaper stay away from me, tell me how do you think it’s fair, to bury a heart so casually”. Yet again, in the darkness there’s hope for salvation. “my heart’s 6 feet down, with my ear to the ground, praying for the bell to ring”. Megan Lovell takes an early pedal steel break, leaving Mike Seal room at the end to nail another of his tasty guitar solos.
Which leads to “Sea Song”. Lovely intro with Daniel Kimbro’s bass coming in slowly, followed by Chad Melton’s Calypso beat. Mandolin, guitar and dobro lines build to the main theme. Close your eyes and you’re in the Caribbean. A joyful tune which showcases the little things this band does so well. The intro, the band’s interaction, the arrangement, the chorus of children perfectly timed. It makes me smile, ear to ear.
“Wrestling With A Stranger” proves this band doesn’t like ruts with an unexpected turn down a subtle, but driving, beat. Not sure which sister wrote this, but I believe humanity is being chastised. We probably deserve it. Mike’s guitar fills and Megan’s slide work make it worthwhile.
“Natalie” is a little pop gem. Delivered well enough that I’m convinced I’d like to meet this Natalie, no matter how she plays with hearts.
Next is a song that I believe contrasts the differences between Ms. Swifts pop/country, self proclaimed “boy” songs, and the more mature writing of the Lovell sister’s. Women of the same age, writing for different audiences. Don’t get me wrong, I think Taylor is adorable. No hate mail please.
“Enough for You” is grown up stuff, not teen fluff. It’s theme, desire unrealized. Sensual doesn’t begin to describe Rebecca’s voice. She can rip a man’s heart out, without objection. Musically it delves into the Jazz-Grass realm of Sam, Jerry and Bela. Not a departure from their earlier sound, a maturing. An evolution. A very intense song.
Closing out the EP , “By The Pier” is a total departure in style. Could be a hit from a Broadway musical. It’s gorgeous. I picture Audra McDonald covering this. Andrew Lloyd Weber wishing he wrote it. Piano, acoustic guitar and Rebecca’s amazing voice make for a nice ending to this chapter. Leaves me wondering where they are going next.
“Summer” is glimpse of a band evolving. Their bluegrass roots are not as pronounced. They’re redefining themselves as they go. The songs are strong, the playing first rate. I believe it’s going to be a wonderful year wherever they take us.
“Summer” and it’s predecessor “Spring” can both be found at I-tunes and Amazon.com.
Preview a few tracks at http://larkinpoe.com/