Larkin Poe – Thick As Thieves

EP Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

In barely eighteen months Northern Sky has been fortunate enough to have taken delivery of no less than five EPs by arguably the best little band to have emerged from the States in the last ten years. Easy to say, but difficult to pinpoint precisely where their appeal lies. It’s a mixture of Rebecca and Megan Lovell’s flair for song writing for certain, maybe their command over their instruments, Rebecca’s guitar, mandolin and occasional fiddle playing, whilst Megan alternates between dobro and lap steel. Could it be Rebecca’s charismatic, infectious personality and inimitable gutsy vocal or just the way the room lights up when these two Georgia peaches enter a room? Whichever way you want to look at it, Larkin Poe is a force to be reckoned with and that’s for certain. Ditching the seasonal theme (their first four EPs were entitled Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter) together with the cute little rosy-cheeked Mindy Lacefield caricatures, Thick As Thieves borrows a British phrase for the title of this their fifth EP and the sisters appear all grown up on the sleeve. The Lovells continue to investigate that unidentifiable appeal, which is spreading like southern forest fires upon each visit to these shores. Their journey began when Rebecca and Megan formed the band from the ashes of The Lovell Sisters, the family band that came to an end shortly after elder sister Jessica left to pursue other interests a couple of years ago. Since then the band have organically grown, transforming their sound from country roots/bluegrass basics to a toughened-up rockier outfit, largely due to Megan’s trademark electric lap steel, which is utilised to full effect, sparring effortlessly with Rick Lollar’s staggeringly dextrous guitar playing. With all seven selections on the EP credited to both Rebecca and Megan, the co-written songs once again demonstrate a command over melody, from the soulfully anthemic “Play On” to the strangely burlesque “On the Fritz”, featuring Mace Hibbard’s soprano sax. Russian Roulette returns to the same sort of place that sent shivers scurrying up and down our backs in earlier songs such as “Burglary” and “Wrestling a Stranger”. With regular drummer Chad Melton, Todd Parks on bass, Will Robertson on keyboards and Marlon Patton on percussion, Larkin Poe are once again confident and outstanding players in a highly populated musical genre, standing head and shoulders above the rest. Catch them in a small venue while you can, they’ve already started playing the sort of venues frequented by Elvis Costello, literally.