I've already had a long relationship with Sky Larkin without even knowing it, I'd mistakenly got their debut album mixed up with Ida Maria's on HMV Western Road's multi-disc random CD changer when they came out around the same time 18 months ago, often confusing their three minute girl pop with irritating Maria's whiny odes to nakedness and nicotine. While I wasn't over impressed with the Leeds trio's female fronted rocked up pop debut, Sky Larkin's live show (which I've seen by accident and then eventually with intention several times) was more pointed and throughly entertaining, their snarling drummer bringing fear and laughter to me on every occasion and proved that it would be only a matter of time before they produced an album really WORTH repeat listening. Their debut was just too familiar, too samey and as an album there was little to go back to over and over. Sky Larkin were more of a mate that you meet for a drink every six months and chat shit with then the person you call after a long and hard day at work.
If your looking for Sky Larkin to become anything more (and suprisingly I was) Kaleide is the album you've been sweet dreaming about. Dramatically varied and light/dark/light then its predecessor and lyrically increasingly pointed, poppy and precise. The first single and album opener "Still Windmills" dismisses criticisms from it's initial blast "I Know there's potential like still windmills" and works as the albums mission statement slamming through pop hooks which recall the class of nineties female pop of Throwing Muses and The Breeders with a British confidence, "Just like all that's waiting to get made, stacked up and filed in brain cell hallways, you anticipate the day that everything somehow click into place... Why Wait?"
The Album then precedes to answer it's own early question by introducing the listener to a collection of massive sounding pop songs easily bettering even The Golden Spike's most memorable moments. Lyrically the album takes some aspects about personal experience whilst dealing with an overall ambition as a band. "Kaleide" sets up along the lines of classic Pretty Girls Make Graves with the same intense ambition mixing simple chords with the unknown. While "Tiny Heist" deals with taking something small and trying to make it larger and hoping for a positive outcome by "decide whats brave and what isn't wise." While "Anjelica Huston" is simple with it's lyrical refrain "As the train pulled out of the station, the light hit your face like Angelica Huston" but its one of the albums most musically ambitious track (and the bands) thus far. It's beats pulsating with malice, while the synth mourning laments behind frontwoman Katie Harkin's often innocent but weary vocals. Then "Year Dot" proves to be Larkin's most personal with the thought provoking inditement of friendship "Aim your parts at mine as they fall off, let's leave a message for the next year dot, so when life begins again, there'll be one pile of bones so they'll know we were friends." Lastly, "ATM" proves to be a pained anti-love song with its hopeful yet mournful "Things we will always wonder, Things we will try to measure, Things we will never shake, never shed. ever. Things will we will always wonder. There are questions written through bone as if words are sticks of rock, like whether a selfish heart is a truthful muscle or not... I will always wonder If I gave up..."
Kaleide is ambitious, experimental and a personal listen, often reflecting on the personal/band successes, failures and the bigger picture seeking to secure a future, deal with the past and find something to rely on. It's ambitions seek to expand their simple set up and give it a soaring edge and capture their largely exciting live show in a way the debut did not. As with Los Campesinos "Romance is Boring" John Goodmanson's production makes the loud and quiet dynamic still seem as personal as if Katie Harkin was singing directly to try and capture you soul on every take. It relies partially on the simplism of the three piece limitations but also shocks when several tracks build to capture a large anthemic sound. Ultimately with this record Sky Larkin have achieved something near impossible and re-defined their genre, its pop rock, its indie, its shemo, its a plethora of ambitions often only assigned to the US Underground, whatever it is, Kaleide has songs which will haunt you for months, heartful and addictive like a blossoming new romance. 9/10