VENOM AND FAITH - LARKIN POE
LCM ALBUM OF THE MONTH - NOVEMBER 2018
Artist: Larkin Poe
Release Date: November 9th, 2018
Genre: Americana, Blues, Roots, Gospel
Record Label: Tricky-Woo
Review By: Gary Smith (LCM)
"It's a celebration of American roots music as translated by two sisters who are playing the blues in a modern age," comments Rebecca Lovell regarding their new album ‘Venom & Faith’.
I’ve been big fans of highly innovative sister duo Rebecca and Megan Lovell for quite a few years now. ‘Venom and Faith’ their highly anticipated follow-up to the 2017 album ‘Peach’, is probably their best to date. Staying true to their southern roots they have a harder powerhouse blues-rock-gospel-roots feel on the new album.
Rebecca and Megan open the album with a scene setting cover of Bessie Jones’ ‘Sometimes’. It’s blues tradition but with a fresh new twist. Handclaps blend with synth pads, snare drums and marching band horns. The soulful and blusey ‘Bleach Blonde Bottle Blues’ showcases powerhouse vocals from Rebecca, blendly perfectly with Megan’s tight backing vocals. Their ’blood’ harmonies seamlessly meshed as their guitar lines and call-response makes for a real toe-tapper.
‘Honey Honey’ takes a different direction starting with low and heavy baseline, adding layers and building to a great climax. Before long you are hypnotized with marching band style percussion. The swamp-tastic ‘Mississippi’ is a great slice of delta blues. Tyler Bryant’s guest slide guitar adding an extra dimension to the sisters already excellent dual guitar sound. The difficulty of chasing your dreams is explored in ‘California King’. It expresses the difficulty we all face hanging onto our dreams that seem further out of reach the harder we chase them. We are encouraged to find the inner strength to keep the darkness from swallowing us up. ‘Blue Ridge Mountains’ has a great traditional blues and gospel feel. Themes as old as Country and Blues music but with a fresh twist incorporating bold new rhythmic southern rock elements. We head for the desert for the lonesome, dusty and burning hot feel of ‘Fly Like A Eagle’. The song builds wonderfully with electronic stutter-beats and rich guitar riffs adding a touch of menace.
The big almost cinematic hard electronic rhythms of ‘Ain’t Gonna Cry’ take the band further into more modern contemporary music. But it’s rooted in a timeless story about finding the inner strength to carry on when giving up would be much easier. The lyrics include “Why am I swimmin’ in the dirty water of a bad decision” are visual and raw. Larkin Poe return to the traditional with a cover of Skip James’ dark ‘Hard Time Killing Floor Blues’. The rhythm is a waterfall of handclaps, crashes and stomps. The vocals testify to the state of modern day America “Times are harder than they’ve ever been before”. This anthemic cover really delivers.
The album closes with an equally weighty original ‘Good and Gone’, with it’s heavy stomp matching it’s very moving sentiments. Trademark Larkin Poe, passion and pain counterpointed by rich soaring vocals and super songwriting and musicianship. This is a funeral lament for anyone who went down with a huge fighting spirit.