LARKIN POE – Kindred Spirits (Tricki-Woo Records)

Kindred SpiritsTheir second album of the year sees Rebecca and Megan Lovell turn to their record collection for an album of covers, recorded raw and live in response to fan requests during their lockdown streams. And a fascinating and eclectic set of choices Kindred Spirits is too.

Opening with a 43-second snatch of slide guitar blues from Robert Johnson’s ‘Hellhound On My Trail’ to get them in the mood, taking that as inspiration they keep it bluesy and get the dobro resonating with a slow burn take on Lenny Kravitz’s ‘Fly Away’ that cuts to its gutbucket heart. Then, things take yearning turn as they reinvent Neil Young’s social issues ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’, transforming it from a fiery, urgent rocker into steel-coloured, smouldering southern blues rock, ditching the third verse in favour of a blistering guitar solo and an extended chorus play out.

Rebecca’s guitar conjures a burning desert landscape as it introduces the Elvis classic ‘(You’re The) Devil In Disguise’, again digging into the minor chords as her sweet and sharp vocals and Megan’s lap steel render it unrecognisable from its original rock n roll self. One of the most striking transfigurations comes with a spooked, haunted, handclaps and hollow drum thump driven reading of Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight’ that makes it sound like some twisted gospel Robert Mitchum’s hellfire preacher might have favoured in Night of The Hunter.

There are some songs which it might seem madness to tackle, so iconic are the original versions. One such is The Moody’s Blues atmospheric, emotional classic ‘Nights In White Satin’, but, again paring things right down to the essence, the sisters’ world weary, resigned and regret soaked version, punctuated by anguished guitar barbs makes it a masterpiece of their own.

Having been largely narcotic so far, they turn on the adrenaline for Bo Diddley’s ‘Who Do You Love’, Rebecca snapping out the lyrics like some barrelhouse mama, the driving acoustic strum shadowed by electric slide. Then, after trawling through past decades, they come bang up to date, dipping into last year’s Post Malone bestseller, Hollywood’s Bleeding for ‘Take What You Need’, disregarding the rap and beats and taking a cue from Ozzy’s opening vocals, turning it into slow moaning slide showcasing blues that might seem more likely to have come from Rag and Bone Man.

They then turn to their own Southern country blues rock roots for a terrific, thigh-slapping, goodtime handclapping romp through ‘Ramblin’ Man’ on which Rebecca shows she can give a Dickey Betts a run for his guitar money any day. And from American blues legends to a British one with Clapton’s ‘Bell Bottom Blues’ which, stripped of the original’s fuzzed production that all but buried his vocals, sees the vocals bring the pain right to the surface in a way which, coloured again by those guitar flashes, makes it very much their own.

Kindred Spirits ends playfully with a tapped guitar percussion flavoured southern barroom end of the evening liquered up dancefloor glide through Elton’s ‘Crocodile Rock’, Megan’s lap steel magnificently substituting for those doo wop la la las.

Respecting the source, but refusing to be slave to it and held together by their very distinctive style, these kindred spirits are 100% proof of the duo’s incendiary talent.

Mike Davies

Artists’ website: www.larkinpoe.com

‘In The Air Tonight’ – official video:


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