The idea of undiscovered gems in this era of infinite choice seems somewhat perverse. That any band - especially one on their third album, with a fair amount of critical, if not commercial, acclaim - could be described as a hidden talent is obviously slightly squiffy, but Sky Larkin’s star has always burned that much brighter than even their list of plaudits gained.
This is, to offer no exaggeration at all, one of our most brilliant bands. Three albums in, reshuffled, retooled and really bloody brilliant, they’re stronger than ever before.
To suggest this is a band out on their own would be fibbing slightly, but when it comes to a defined sound, few have one as distinctive. It’s all down to Katie Harkin’s vocal - the kind of perfectly pitched delivery that creates its own gravitational pull, dragging the rest of the song into order around it. Need convincing? Take ‘Loom’ - a perfect song about death (and stuff) that’s never morbid and packs a melody that will take months to shift, it’s definitively Sky Larkin.
That’s not to suggest there’s been no change. There’s an increased steel running through ‘Motto’ - an extra thump, a stronger arm - but never played in a way that disrupts the chemistry. An evolution, rather than a revolution, ‘Carve It Out’, ‘Newsworthy’ and the album’s title track all find themselves comfortably in the top tiers of whatever hyperbolic rankings you wish to mention.
Even when they turn unusually lengthy, with the six minute plus ‘Frozen Summer’, there’s no hint of flab. Instead it’s paced to the point of perfection, morphing into the kind of guitar solo that’s more of a flexed muscle than a noodle-headed wig out.
That ‘Motto’ is far from a flash in the pan from a band heady on easily won success only makes it more of a statement. They may have deserved the montages to move along their story, but this time round there’s no denying it. Wake up, world - eight years in, Sky Larkin are demanding your attention. Deny them at your own risk.
The former Sky Larkin member is heading in a totally different direction with her new solo venture.