Sky Larkin - Kaleide
Behind the blackened, misanthropic exterior of those who write about music, there lies (or at least used to lie) the heart of a music fan. Time - and the grim reality of The Business - may dampen that enthusiasm but it hopefully never fades entirely. So it's not unusual to find yourself worrying about a band, concerned that so few people seem to be paying attention despite their obvious brilliance. The sleepless nights we've had over The Joy Formidable for example, soothed somewhat by the news they've been picked up by a big label, but replaced by the anxiety of what will happen once the industry begins to interfere.
And so it is with Leeds trio Sky Larkin. There's no obvious reason why they've not been clutched to the bosom of the nation: the post-Sleater Kinney guitars; Katie Harkin's voice, circling round the ether like Yorkshire's very own Tanya Donnelly; the restless rhythm section - it's like someone broke into the TMF office and rifled through files, intent on Frankenstein-ing together our favourite band, ever.
Kaleide, their second full-length after 2009's The Golden Spike carries on from where the debut left off. Perhaps not a great progression, but tighter, cleverer, constantly interesting, helped no doubt by the steady hand of John Goodmanson at the desk. Lead track 'Still Windmills' has Mark Goodier's Evening Session 1993 writ large all over and 'Tiny Heist' announces its intentions like early Placebo, the sad chords over stuttering drums still a winning formula whatever the season. The martial introduction to 'Anjelica Huston' gives way to a nagging piano motif, the kind of thing that can't fail to sound good in the confines of a Tokyo taxi cab, the rain smearing the neon through the glass. Pleasingly, a certain momentum is sustained throughout, the yearning climax to 'Guitars and Antarctica' moving neatly into the last track, 'Smarts', the kind of lo-fi indie that you know Kate Nash is striving for, but not quite achieving.
Sky Larkin, then. Worry not. Good album, good band. In most circumstances that's more than enough.