Album Review Sky Larkin - Kaleide

It cements their position as one of the best bands to come out of Leeds since, well…

It’s a very rare trick, and one that many bands would do well to learn, to create an album that makes the listener immediately want to see you play live. The word on the street is that all the money in the industry is now in the live circuit, and if that’s the case, Sky Larkin are on to a winner; after one listen to second album ‘Kaleide’, it would take an exceedingly hardened soul not to want to go see them in the nearest sweatbox post-haste.

Katie Harkin quickly allays my personal fear of bands with members whose name rhymes with their band name (see: Luke Kook); Sky Larkin succeed where many of the current crop of alt-rock revival bands fail - they’ve clearly found a voice, and it doesn’t have a cod American accent. The sophomore album from the three piece finds them once again in fine form, and whilst it’s not necessarily making any great leaps from debut ‘The Golden Spike’, it cements their position as one of the best bands to come out of Leeds since, well… (note to self: do not mention Kaiser Chiefs, do not mention Kaiser Chiefs)…

Opening track and one time single, ‘Still Windmills’ sets out the album’s manifesto, being led by the tantalisingly eccentric drumming that peppers the whole album, with shades of what Giant Drag could’ve been, if only they’d had another member and hailed from northern England.

It’s fair to say that there’s occasionally there’s some dodgy rhyming (“station” and “Angelica Houston” on the track bearing the latter’s name), but on the whole, the lyrical strength is intrinsic to the album’s success. ‘Year Dot’ mixes woozy organs with thumping bass and vocal melodrama (“one pile of bones so they’ll know we were friends”). In ‘ATM’, Sky Larkin perfectly blend harmonies (“we will always wonder, if a selfish heart is a truthful muscle? Or not.”), strong but loose drums, with a summery slice of guitars, before slipping away and leaving the listener wondering how nigh on four minutes could have ended so quickly.

Closing track ‘Smarts (Shh Version)’ adds a final new dimension to the proceedings, it’s a little rawer, sharper, a little more personal. Saving the best for last? Quite probably.

In a sense, we’re not being offered much new from Sky Larkin here, at times the record comes across as though they’ve systematically taken all the best bits of the 90’s Elastica / L7 / Riot Grrl movement, but without any of the worry that they might expose themselves on The Word. “I know there’s potential”, Katie sings repeatedly during the opening track. And so do we.


Tags: Sky Larkin, Album Reviews, Reviews

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