Monday, December 12, 2016

Best Albums of 2016 - Number 7


This may be the album I played the most this year. Not only do I love it, but I was constantly getting requests from both of my daughters (3 and 7) to play songs from it. The fact that it's technically a re-packaged version of 2014's KIN, might obscure the fact that Larkin Poe's Reskinned is actually a very different feeling album - one that demonstrates a large amount of growth and redirection in a short period of time. There a few new songs here, some were removed and a couple more were remixed, making this much thicker and heavier than its predecessor. Also, somehow, looser. While their roots remain strong, the Lovell sisters are now focused on the rock in beautifully Southern ways.

The album wastes no time in bringing the heat, opening with the aptly titled "Sucker Puncher." Meghan's flaming slide leads and Rebecca's explosive vocals burst with power that only enhances their sense of melody, harmony and heart. After years spent making more traditionally acoustic Americana, they know song structure so this is not just loud posturing. They didn't just turn up the volume, there's a very real foundation here that I think outshines most blues based rock bands, new and classic.

The whole first half is basically in your face, attitude heavy swaggering that comes to a head in the excellent "Problem." I'm not sure they have sounded better than on this one song. To my ears, it's the highlight of the album. But then there's the variety on display, with songs like the eerie "Banks of Allatoona" and the electronic stomp of "Blunt." But enough of what I think. My daughters both have been singing these songs all year. So let's see what Shayera has to say:

I like Larkin Poe very much because I like listening to rock n roll. I like "When God Closes a Door" because it's cool. Her voice makes me feel like I can do anything. This is my favorite song to sing. I like the background music in "Trouble in Mind." It sounds how I would like to do music. I would like to write rock n roll songs and play electric guitar like Rebecca. My sister likes "Don't." She says it's her song. I also like "Stubborn Love." It inspires me because I have a sister, too. I like "Blunt" because of the beat. It sounds awesome. I like the words "If you knew your chisel was blunt." I don't know what it means, but I just like it. I like the way "Crown of Fire" starts with the high pitched voice and then it just goes into the loud music. And I like the name because it sounds awesome. I love all of Larkin Poe's songs.

There you have it, from a 7 year old with taste. If your music can inspire fans to say they want to do what you're doing, then I think you've succeeded and this album does that. But don't let the fact that I can share this with my daughters lead you astray. This is not kiddie music by any stretch of the imagination. The lyric Shayera quoted from "Blunt" (which I have explained to her) is directed at god and the next line is "why did you make so many of us?" And that's just one example. There are deep, serious and heartfelt themes in all of these songs, many of them kind of dark. I'm looking forward to seeing how this band continues to grow and inspire my daughters.

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