THE LARK AND THE LOON – 2 (own label)

2I really enjoyed The Lark And The Loon’s previous album, Homestead Hands, and I’m glad to say that their follow-up, 2, doesn’t disappoint. The Lark And The Loon are husband and wife duo Jeff Rolfzen and Rocky Steen-Rolfzen, named for reasons I now forget. All the songs were written as duets – there is no question of a lead vocalist and a backing singer – and reflect the couple’s partnership. Their sound is stomping rag-time featuring banjo, accordion, harmonica and washboard, maintaining their home-spun style.

Where Homestead Hands was a paean to their rural life, 2 is more about them and reflects their decision to record in Rick Nelson’s New Orleans studio – Rick himself plays bass, which is another departure – and there is an edge to the music that wasn’t previously obvious. The opener, ‘Change Our Tune’, is about their relationship with both jokingly reflecting on their short-comings and promising to do better. Of course, they also realise that they won’t and probably don’t need to. It’s a great song. Both ‘Eye Of The Storm’ and ‘Pack Your Suitcase’ are about defying convention and going your own way: admirable ambitions.

The punning ‘Ms. Fortune’ (not forgetting her associate Sir Kyle O’Fire) is immediately contradicted by ‘Wishing Well’ about a couple who have discovered contentment and don’t need material possessions and ‘Shine What You Got’ expands on the theme looking from the perspective of rising above you problems. The whistling break reminds me irresistibly of Pinocchio. Paradoxically perhaps, ‘Takes The Stairs’ is song about taking delight in city life and ‘Scenes Of Midnight’ is sung by Rocky is the style of an old-fashioned musical.

This is an infectiously happy record and I can’t think of anything we need more right now. 2 is available to download from the usual suspects and remember; “you can’t buy happiness with a taxidermy rug”.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ website: www.thelarkandtheloon.com

‘Shine What You Got’ – live:

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