Larkin Poe – comprising two sisters from Georgia, Rebecca and Megan Lovell, plus a four-piece band – have produced a debut release which is interesting without ever being fully satisfying. Still aged only 19 (Rebecca) and 20 (Megan), there’s enough here to suggest that they could go on to produce bigger and better things.
The sisters are experienced beyond their years, having previously performed and released a couple of albums under the name the Lovell Sisters with their elder sister Jessica. The main change is the loss of Jessica’s lead singing and fiddle playing, but that has transformed the sound. With her gone, it sounds like a conscious decision not to use a fiddle at all. And so the lighter, much more country sound of the Lovell SIsters with their three-part harmonies has been replaced in Larkin Poe by a band focussed around Rebecca, who has stepped up as main songwriter and lead vocalist. She has a soulful voice with jazzy inflections and clearly a good range, even if sometimes she may be a little too eager to display it.
Many of the songs on Spring are about the trials and tribulations of love and relationships. So “Burglary” is about the man who stole her heart and on “Ball And Chain”, a song about jealousy and trust, she remonstrates Why is it always gotta be a chore for you to be good to me. And “Nothin’ But Air” is a strong song on a similar theme: So quit lying, I’m not buying your stories any more, Go easy on apologies ‘cos I’m out the door.
Both sisters are accomplished musicians, Rebecca on mandolin and guitar and Megan on dobro and lapsteel, and even trying her hand on some very effective toy piano for the closing of “We Intertwine”. “The Principle Of Silver Lining” is the longest track, a slower mood piece with a compelling chorus: There is darkness upon us, Darkness is all around, There is no light there is no light.
Although it’s called an EP, it’s longer than that implies, with nine songs and a running time of around 34 minutes (although, in the UK at least, it seems to be selling for around the same price as a full-length album). This may be an album you find yourself admiring for many reasons without ever really falling in love with.