Leeds’ Sky Larkin have, with their third album Motto, made one of the strongest contenders for album of the year.
The album begins with the track of the same name; immediately an unflappable sense of urgency and a feel of energy is presented to you. A driving drum beat, a fluid bass line and choppy guitars propel the song, and the album as a whole, from 0-60 in a matter of moments.
Original members Katie Harkin (vocals and guitars) and Nestor Matthews (drums) together with recent additions Nile Marr (guitar) and Sam Pryor (bass) play with effervescent fervour that is as infectious as it is accomplished – which is to say very. The breakdown in Motto combines delightful indie-rock with undeniable pop nous; indeed this is an ever present throughout.
Lead single Loom is perhaps the best example of this marriage made in heaven. It’s both light and fluffy, with enough guitar to maintain the indie musically, but lyrically slightly darker.
There are even indications of the direction they may wish to take in future recordings. Frozen Summer is a slower, heavier inclusion which does not feel out of place. And why? Because Harkin, Nestor, Marr and Pryor know how to make good music. It’s as simple as that. The longest track here, it does not drag; remember that pop nous I mentioned earlier? It’s here. The bass line is memorable, Harkin’s voice is simply divine, and most importantly they all know when to stop.
Italics is perhaps the catchiest song here, and maybe even the best song on the album. The opening guitar riff is one of those that sounds familiar, but you know is unique – think ‘Times Like These’ by the Foo Fighters. Bent strings have never sounded so groovy.
Over the year so far, I’ve received and listened to many singles, EPs and albums. None have captured my imagination nor ears as immediately as Motto has. Neither have any had as much play as soon as I’ve listened to it all the way through. I think I’m not the only one to keep this on constant repeat.
Motto by Sky Larkin is out today on Wichita