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Sky Larkin Return with ‘Kaleide’ in the US this Fall (wichita records)

SKY LARKIN
‘Kaleide’ (wichita records) –
Digital: 8/10/10 : Physical: 10/12/10

Download the free 3-track EP featuring the LP title track “Kaleide”, plus “Spooktacular (Demo)” and “Matador (Acoustic)”, still available from www.weareskylarkin.com.

‘Kaleide’ (wichita records) –
Digital: 8/10/10 : Physical: 10/12/10

“brilliant” 8/10 NME

“‘Still Windmills’, ‘Year Dot’ and the title track are the huge singles” Rock sound 8/10

“Sky Larkin’s second album has sleeper cult classic written all over it” – Artrocker AAAAA (Artrocker Album Of The Summer AAAAA)

“A revelation.. Play loud and repeatedly” The Fly 4/5

“chiming guitars, rousing choruses and massive grin inducing sentiment”- Clash

“There’s something about these Sky Larkin kids that captures the recklessness of youth with the pure joy of just hanging out with your mates. It makes us want to be in a band with them” – Gay Times 5/5

When Katie Harkin talks about Sky Larkin’s second album, she uses the word “chemistry” a lot. And she doesn’t mean it in a romance novel, chick lit sort of way. “The words we threw around a lot were all scientific terms, used to describe emotional states,” she explains. “Even though I’ve gravitated towards the arts my whole life, I was raised by scientists, and I can’t escape from it. Songwriting for me isn’t necessarily a narrative. It’s an investigation.”

If The Golden Spike was about pinning the band together, Kaleide is an investigation into how far they can go. Released 18 months to the day since their debut came out, and again recorded in Seattle with producer John Goodmanson, it’s a strident record that takes everything they shot for as a newer, greener three-piece and pulls it into shape. Its title may reference a very pretty kind of fragmentation, but it feels stocky and solid.

And little wonder. The Leeds trio have spent the past two years honing their craft, and everyone has upped their game, thanks to a touring schedule that the sturdiest of bands would balk at. Doug Adams is playing more instruments, Nestor Matthews continues to break cymbals and invent new grimaces, and Katie is playing harder than ever. Too hard, on occasion: during the recording of Spooktacular, she almost passed out. “That song is really hard to play because I’d bought a baritone guitar, and it’s massive and heavy. I’d drunk too much coffee and not enough water, and we’d turned the air conditioning off to reduce background noise… We had a moment.” She’s also singing with more might, and less hesitation – see the pounding, shamanic Anjelica Huston, which revolves around the repetition of just one phrase: “When the train pulled out of the station, the light hit your face, like Anjelica Huston.” (Which era Anjelica Huston? “Full-on Addams Family.”)

“That’s about something that did happen to me,” says Katie. “And that phrase instantly sprang to mind. I wrote it down, and upon reflection, realised that because I couldn’t cope with the intensity of the situation, I instantly referenced myself out of it.” It’s deceptively simple, and brilliantly jarring. “Its greatest strength isn’t narrative, but if I wanted to tell a story I’d write a book. If I want to communicate an intensity of feeling, I should write a song that makes me feel it.”

Ultimately, it’s science that holds all of that intensity in place. “It’s not even intentional,” says Katie. “I didn’t even realise until we did the tracklisting how much I’d written about light. So that was part of Kaleide being a logical title, finding the beauty in the collision of the three of us.” Opener (and first single) Still Windmills might be the catchiest song about kinetic energy ever recorded – “I started that lying in the back of the RV, and it does carry that feeling of propulsion for me because I was lying in a bed that was moving” – while on Guitars & Antarctica, a woozy, lolling epic, Katie sings of “infinite space, where zero approaches and absolutes have room to grow”. It turns vapour into a metaphor for “the point at which a thought becomes communicable”.

But the album’s biggest pop moment comes in the shape of the skittish, optimistic Year Dot, which sneakily turns out to be about the apocalypse. “We had a 17-hour drive up the west coast of America, and our tour manager drank every energy drink he could find, including one called Go Girl. At one point he thought he was running out of fuel, so he cut across to the other side of the highway – but it turned out to be a dirt track to a railroad. And by the side of the tracks was a pile of bones that had been picked clean, probably by a mountain lion. So it’s about that apocalypse fantasy moment of what you could do if you had no time.” It’s a fable that ends in a gang-chant of “one pile of bones so they’ll know we were friends”, assisted by members of Seattle musical mates Telekinesis!, The Long Winters and Boat, who break into a spontaneous round of applause. John Goodmanson kept it on there, epitomising the notion that Kaleide may be about science, but it’s also about love, friendship and romance, good and bad. It’s a heart in a lab coat.

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