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I've been away from doing reviews for a wee while and to be honest it takes a strong, focused mind to tolerate the sheer influx of new music, both good and bad, that we receive through our clattering, groaning doors. So to ease myself back into the madness I've opted to stay on safe ground with a band I've always really liked and admired, hailing from our fair city of Leeds.
This female-led gang, once a trio (now augmented by a second guitarist, so subsequently a quartet!) are one of the few groups I've followed over time that have remained loyal to their original ethos, very subtly evolving their brittle dynamic and earthy sound over the seven years or so since their début 7" into something decidedly taut, raw and passionate. Note how they've achieved this without compromising the soaring tenderness of Katie Harkin's piercingly clear and strident vocals or marvel at their alarmingly effortless way with an addictive hook or affecting melody.
Sky Larkin's sound on 'Motto' therefore bears no hipster trappings and has a raw, hearts-on-sleeve roots feel heavily indebted to the punchy and angular end of 90's US indie/college rock. Yes, the old loose comparisons still stand such as Shannon Wright's original group Crowsdell, or from the same era, the underrated Tsunami, latter period Sleater-Kinney and I even spot strong shades of a less shredding, more straightforward take on the glorious Marnie Stern.
'Motto' certainly comes across as a more forceful, muscular and confident record than they've delivered before and I'm convinced there's nary a week link on this blistering third long player. The tunes are consistently of a superior quality even down to the atmospheric and beautiful closer 'Que Linda (Wake To Applause)' I'm a bit smitten again. Welcome back!
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- Motto by Sky Larkin
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