Whilst it's true that Young God Records have a ridiculously high hit rate (ie nearly everything) it's also true that you never quite know what you're going to get, even if you think you have a handle on the boundaries that Mr Gira works within. This album proves the latter true but without spoiling the run of form.
Grimm's album is a lot to take in on first spin. At 15 tracks (and nearly as many ideas) you have to spin it again to even start to get a handle on it but you most certainly won't mind that. Each play proves there's more in common than you thought with her chants to electronica, conventional folk to intimate croons.
Also of note is the willingness for a track to be as long as it needs to be. If it has to be 90secs then it is, with no pandering to the typical or expected track norms. That keeps everything instant and fresh, leaping out of the speakers amazingly.
Expect this album to be in the 'best of 2008' lists for those that have heard it and if you haven't then why not? You really should, you know.
This is the first review I've written on here for what seems like an age as I've found my life busy with other things (like managing bands and putting on my own live music nights). I haven't bothered reading the other reviews of this here, just to say that this is utterly brilliant. I don't even know how I came across this but I ordered it on a whim the other day and this has been playing ever since I got hold of it. The singing is truly moving and the songs whilst all different never stop conveying magic. Just a brilliant album full stop, not a dud moment on it but the highlights for me are Ride That Cyclone and Dominican Rum. I just hope she comes over to the UK soon and plays this.... I can honestly say this, for me, ranks with stumbling upon Neutral Milk Hotel on a whim. Truly one of the best albums of 2008. (10/10)
Larkin Grimm isn't your typical female singer-songwriter. Grimm was born into a religious cult, raised by a commune, lived in poverty in Appalachia, then got whisked off to a boarding school thanks to a scholarship from Coca-Cola, one of the dominant global symbols of the capitalist world order. Working as a musician for years with The Dirty Projectors and doing her own free form improvisations. This ild of hippies once part of the Holy Order of MANS and a rambler that prefers to sleep outdoors in the warm months, Larkin joins the other inspired iconoclasts on Michal Gera's Young God Records (Akron/Family, Fire On Fire, Devendra Banhart, The Angels of Light) for an album that infuriates nearly as much as it delights. Grimm like Beth Gibbons of Portishead has a startling vocal range which veers from a pleasant lower range burr on the ballad "Anger In Your Liver" to an extremely irritating high range witchy screeching on the overall annoying "Mina Minou" .It's an eclectic album too instrumentally too with a veritable gamut of guitars, brass, strings and exotica . Most songs clock in under three minutes which means that even if something terrible like the idiosyncratic "How To Catch A Lizard" comes along it soon makes way for something better. Her songs aren't quite the hippy anthems you may expect either with incisive commentary on gender politics and apocalyptic visions. Young God label boss Michael Gira , formerly of the brilliant Swans helped Grimm choose these fifteen songs out of a possible fifty and probably based his choice on the need for diversity and multiplicity as much as song quality which may explain the music's wildly disparate worth. That's not to say there aren't any great songs on Parplar because there most assuredly are. Opening track "They Were Wrong " is a spectral ballad showing her vocals off at their finest while "Ride That Cyclone" is an magnetic galloping tune with lovely gradated harmonies. "Blond And Golden Johns" is like a lullaby perverted by years of Appalachian superstitions while "Dominican Rum " is a joyous mandolin led romp with rather startling lyrical imagery -"I am wanking in the corridor waiting for a nuclear war /hoarding all the garbage and its filling up my car". "Durge" is a sombre hymn while the tippling guitars and immingled harmonies of "Be My Host" are delightful ."Fall On Your Knees" is trad song rearranged into a percussion heavy gambol with some tremendous harmony work. Despite it's wild inconsistency I would heartily recommend Parplar. There is enough on this album to enchant and more than enough musical miscellany and innovation to keep the listener on their toes. Larkin Grimm has "turned my little head from the wicked world you're in " and created something by turns magical, exasperating, compelling , enjoyable and suffocating irksome. It's not an easy listen but it is often a highly rewarding one.