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Friday, 20 February 2009

Sky Larkin & OSA: The '09 Debuts

At the beginning of the year we mentioned some new acts that we were most looking forward to this year. Now that we’re a few months in and a few albums have been landing on our desk it’s time to report on the debuts by the two most promising of these acts.

Sky Larkin’s debut album, The Golden Spike is a splendid rural indie affair, chock full of the best type of music possible – that of pop songs performed by a rock outfit. As a three piece pretty much everything comes from the standard set up of guitar/bass/drums/vocals, yet it’s still as fresh as a new book. Katie Harkin’s vocals are quiet simply stunning, and there’s the theme of geography throughout the record, lending it cohesion. In their odd subject matter they may well find fans in the British Sea Power fanbase, yet the frantic drumming and rocking out that they do on occasion may well appeal to fans of more conventional indie music. Whilst there’s not a duff song here it’s also hard to pick out highlights, as each track stands well on its own against the others, however the lyrics to ‘Matador’ certainly warrant mention for their genius. “I am sure that / You’re not a door mat / And I’m sure / You could grow into a matador”. Superb.

Official Secrets Act on the other hand are an entirely different proposition to Sky Larkin, as well as throwing a curveball of an album that is Understanding Electricity they’ve shattered our notions of them completely. Whilst we can’t go into a full review here, we will say that it’s an exemplary record that manages to cover many different styles and genres. In many ways this one feels more like a collection of 7” singles from every era of popular music held together by an elastic band. The vocals manage to sound like an interesting combination of Bowie and Morrissey and the subject matter varies across the album wildly. Again, it’s hard to pick out highlights, but past single ‘No Tomorrow’ manages so accurately to sum up the current economic and social climate. It’s very clever and a million miles away from the standard indie faire of some of their older material.

The Golden Spike is out now on Wichita Records
Understanding Electricity is out March 30th on One Little Indian

Keep/Pop/Loud

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