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Larkin Poe: Venom and Faith

review larkin poe x1 cong

This is an album that falls between pop and blues. It’s like one of those visual illusions, where upside down plates suddenly flip to the right way round. In this case you’ve got to see it as a pop album rather than blues; it sits a little uneasily until you do.

There’s a mix of originals and covers and the album opens with a cover of Bessie Jones’s Sometimes, a stonking song with bluesy vocals, handclaps and marching snare. It promises much. Bleach Blonde Bottle Blues carries on with bluesy guitar and raunchy vocals (their voices — the band is sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell — blend as one), but the guitar doesn’t quite stir the soul as does blues from (say) Gary Clark Jr or even thr recent release by Wilder Woods.

It’s a pop take on the blues, however well it’s played. This is more obvious on Honey Honey, which goes for ominous and swampy, but is in reality a shallower, albeit classy, pop tune.

Some songs veer more towards roots, such as California King, others more pop. They’re probably brilliant live, mind you, and the musicianship and arrangements are high quality.

For people who like their blues on the pop side, and fans of the likes of Caro Emerald.

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