Sky Larkin – Motto
Consistency is an admirable quality in a band, especially when its members are constantly dipping into sonically dissimilar side-gigs. Leeds-bred Sky Larkin is one of those reliable acts. Anyone who’s followed the group since Kaleide, their first proper album released in 2010, could safely anticipate what Motto would sound like.
Katie Harkin’s vocals ring like a less ear-stinging version of Caithlin De Marrais’ (Rainer Maria). The meticulous guitar work of math-rock is at home in Harkin’s fastidious fingers. The combination isn’t a far cry from Marnie Stern, but with drastically fewer cacophonous moments. At its most basic, Sky Larkin is by-the-book indie rock. The emotional fortitude of several songs – such the title track, “Treasury” and “Bravo Dodo” – summon the type of self-accomplishment earned only after a clean sweep of soul-perturbing people. And it’s impossible to ignore the utter catchiness of “Loom,” a deceptive little tune that masks its forlorn message with triumphant verses and a buoyant chorus.
Enlisting indie big-shot John Goodmanson as producer – known for his work with Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill, the Gossip, Blonde Redhead, the Blood Brothers and Girls, among a slew of other well-known acts – for a third time might have something to do with the invariability among their records. But some credit is undeniably owed to co-founders Harkin and drummer Nestor Matthews who, despite not-so-stellar past reviews, have held fast to their sound. Nothing’s changed on Motto, save for the fact that their ship’s more anchored than ever.