Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sky Larkin - "The Golden Spike" (LP review)

"The Golden Spike" is the 2009 debut LP from the UK trio Sky Larkin. I discovered them on Wichita Recordings YouTube page, a place from which I've discovered many great bands (including The Cribs and Peter Bjorn and John) in the last year or two. Wichita Recordings is signing amazing bands and doing a great job of promoting them via the web (many are in the queue to be reviewed).

I was so excited about "The Golden Spike" that I ordered the UK copy as soon as it was released -- I couldn't wait for the US version that was to follow a few months later. Prior to the release of TGS, Sky Larkin released two singles from the LP. The first, "Fossil, I", is a good song but the second, "Beeline", is an infectious indie pop song tour de force. I can't imagine why this song has not received more buzz. Peter Bjorn and John's "Young Ones" received well-deserved radio airplay -- why not "Beeline"?

Nestor Matthews (drums) and Doug Adams (bass) are a good rhythm section but it is fair to say that the band's unique sound is defined by Katie Harkin, both as a vocalist and guitarist. Harkin perfectly captures the lo-fi, indie sound -- the closest comparison I can think of is Juliana Hatfield (updated by 15-20 years).

My only criticism of this LP (and it is a small criticism) is that at this point Sky Larkin seems to be a better singles band than LP band: the songs work a bit better one or two at a time than 12 (or 13, counting the hidden track) in a row. There are no bad songs on the LP, but they're not all at the level of "Beeline", "Matador" or some of my other favorites.

Standout Tracks: "Beeline", "Matador", "Fossil, I", "One of Two", "Molten", "Antibodies"

Skip 'em Tracks: none.

Final Score: 8/10.

2009-10-19 Update: I found this short interview with the band discussing Wichita Recordings, making the "Fossil, I" video and other tidbits on the "BenevolentShadows" YouTube Channel. It closes with a sample of this live version of "Matador".

2012-12-16 Update: More acoustic versions of "Matador": 2010 Bandstand Busking version, free mp3 version on soundcloud (unknown date)

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