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"Summer EP"

Larkin Poe – Summer EP
04 January 2011, 15:14 Written by Helen Weatherhead

So here comes the second of the seasonal releases by Larkin Poe. And while it does seem a bit weird to have named the latest EP Summer when it’s wet, cold and rainy outside, you can’t deny that it’s a good listen.

Opening track ‘Praying for a Bell’ is a powerful start to this dreamy nine-tracked release, with rich, close harmonies and triumphant choruses that continue right throughout the EP. This is followed by ‘Sea Song’ and seven other tracks that form the remainder of what seems to be a long story about a summer of love and loss and, well, a bit more loss. (S’all very heartfelt.)

‘Wrestling for a Stranger’ achieves a more upbeat feel with its fast-paced, sliding guitar line, and track seven, ‘Natalie’ reminds me of old summer playlists, with its offbeat guitar rhythms bringing elements of reggae to what might have been just another bout of country pop. ‘By the Pier’, a stark contrast to previous numbers, invokes a sense of loneliness with its heavy-handed pianist and ghostly presence of the drum, but this is all kicked back into touch nearer the end, when Larkin Poe throw in a few live (and livelier) numbers. Just for good measure.

During these, I actually start to imagine people line dancing ( which is a bit odd really, considering the title of one is ‘In My Time of Dying’, but whatever). Not quite as intense as the previous six, the combination of upbeat guitar twanging, Rebecca’s gravelly vocals and a few backing singers actually leaves me wishing I had caught this one live too.

But, on the whole, I sort of wonder though whether the Larkin Poe sisters look back on the album and laugh at how cynical it all seems. I mean, sure, the instrumentals soar, but the lyrics seem to rest rather too heavily on the SAME failed romance. And while Summer will have hundreds of other listeners wailing into their pillows/singing (dramatically) along in the car the next moment they’re having a bit of an ‘off day’, I’d rather hear some lyrics that have a little more substance to accompany the beautifully arranged pieces Larkin Poe have produced for this Winter.

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