Larkin Poe – Spring

EP Review | Edvins | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 5/5

In the long lamented vinyl days, interestingly enough making their return with a vengeance, my understanding of the initialism ‘EP’ always stood for ‘extended play’, roughly defined as a ‘single’ with a couple of supplementary tracks included.  Larkin Poe’s Spring EP with no less than nine songs is for all intents and purposes a full blown album for my money, not just because of the length of play, but also because it’s a complete and beautiful statement; one of the best albums I’ve heard this year.  Larkin Poe are essentially the remaining two siblings after big sister Jessica left the Lovell Sisters trio in order to return to her studies, get married and have some time away from music.  Rebecca and Megan have teamed up with Daniel Kimbo on bass and banjo, Mike Seal on guitars, Chad Melton on drums and percussion and Jonathan Maness also on percussion to create an astonishingly mature sound, which blends bluegrass, roots and rock to create their own brand of exciting Americana.  Named after the siblings’ great great great grandfather Larkin Poe, Rebecca and Megan, merely 19 and 20 respectively, continue where the trio left off, further developing their highly skilful playing of mandolin, guitar and Dobro, as well as highlighting each of their own individual vocal credentials, previously used to good effect on the Lovell Sisters two records When Forever Rolls Around (2006) and Time To Grow (2009).  Rebecca in particular has an instantly recognisable voice, full of character and depth and therefore the focal point of this record.  Whilst “Long Hard Fall” and “We Intertwine” maintain that unique balance between pop melody and bluegrass integrity, both “Burglary” and “The Principle of Silver Lining” bring out an interesting darker side to Rebecca’s song writing, possibly drawing from another Poe of the Edgar Allan variety, particularly in the latter, with its haunting theme of darkness.  With an edgy rock base, both performances demonstrate Rebecca’s relaxed liaison with a much raunchier bluesier music.  Lowell George would be nodding approval for certain.  As the band prepare for their forthcoming British tour, the Spring EP prepares us for what’s hopefully to come.  Roll on Summer!