The Golden Spike
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The Golden Spike
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Sky Larkin - The Golden Spike
Leeds has a chequered musical history - for every Kaiser Chiefs and Corinne Bailey Rae there are hundreds of frustrated failures. The Golden Spike may sound more like a Phillip Pullman novel than a hit album, but something just feels right about Leeds band Sky Larkin's debut from start to finish.
There's a familiar, comforting vibe to their music right from the word go on album opener Fossil, I. The exact magic's difficult to pinpoint - maybe it's the perfect mix of indie-pop, or lead singer Katie Harkin's vocal style?
She is a mish-mash of The Ting Tings' Katie, Republica's Saffron, Kay from Letters To Cleo, Evanescence's Amy, Paramore's Hayley - in a nutshell, some of the leading female vocalists from the last ten years of the genre. And that's without the strong hints of Bjork.
There's no slouching from the two males in this trio though - with varied and vibrant backing that's drum heavy on some tracks, and bursting with guitar riffs on others. And Sky Larkin appreciate the value of leaving us wanting more - Fossil, I clocks in at a gnat's sneeze over 2 minutes.
Pica's catchy lyrics (''I'm eating all his coal because I'm trying to make a diamond'') will have you humming along even if they're too fast for you to match. One Of Two is just a great song, plain and simple. Who knows what inspired Matador's bizarre words, but the awesome melody means you don't need to care.
The band are certainly kicking off this year as they mean to go on - unleashing a brilliant debut produced by the man who steered Death Cab For Cutie to success and bagging a headline slot on Radio 1 star Huw Stephens' Introducing tour. Looks like 2009's gonna be golden for Sky Larkin. --Sophie Bruce
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The fun of their live show remains completely intact on the disc, drummer Nestor joyously cheers in between the beat during the breakdown on `Antibodies' and you can hear the smile breaking across Katie's face when just before the solo on `Beeline'. The songs from their early releases have been re-recorded and whilst fundamentally the same they benefit from the proper production provided and sound much larger and satisfying. Debut single `One of Two' now sounds much darker and brooding than its 2007 iteration, with the guitar now drenched in reverb and a slower delivery on the vocals. Vocalist/Guitarist Katie's lyrics are fantastic throughout and have plenty of variety. Album closer `Keepsakes' plays with the metaphors found in love songs by taking them literally, she will `make sure you are safe' by cutting you into pieces so she can `keep you in bottles and jars but store the bigger bits in the boot of the car'. The highpoint is live favourite `Matador' where the listener is encouraged to stop being `a doormat' and `stand up to the bull'. However, the music lacks the invention found in the lyrics, it is all energetic, bouncy indie rock with the occasional synth line on a few songs. Luckily this is not a fatal flaw, as the saying goes `if it ain't broke, don't fix it' and Sky Larkin have got the art of hook laden indie rock down to an absolute tee.