Album | Larkin Poe and Thom Hell – The Sound of the Ocean Sound

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If ever a genre was in need of a spark of new blood, it’s country music. Sometimes it can feel a little like a museum piece: all nods and winks to the past and rigid adherence to a pre-defined structure. If that’s how you feel about it too, then the growing prominence of Larkin Poe is a reason for significant cheer. The band, formed around the Lovell sisters Megan and Rebecca, are the perfect antidote. Bright, young things, joyously talented musicians and absolutely, unequivocally adorable.

The Sound of the Ocean Sound is not quite a straightforward country album – it hops skips and jumps into moments of folk, soul and even bluegrass – and the presence of Norwegian singer-songwriter Thom Hell means it doesn’t even strictly qualify as the band’s long-awaited debut album. All trifling minutae. After last year’s positively lovely Thick as Thieves EP, it’s just good to hear more from the Lovells.

Rebecca’s engaging, clear vocal takes the lead more often than not and conveys a worldliness and emotive quality that belies her 21 years. Elder sibling Megan, meanwhile, chimes in with some ripe lap steel solos and classic sibling harmonies. The pair’s qualities are never better twinned than on ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’, a near-perfect showcase that comes with the added lashings of Hammond organ.

The presence of Hell is not always as successful. ‘PS I Love You’, a catchy duet, best utilises him and his back-and-forth with Rebecca is neatly done. But the second half of the album sees him pushed further to the fore and takes the whole affair a little closer to the middle of the road. It’s easy to find yourself hankering for the return of the Poe girls, but then all you have to do is hit the repeat button and start all over again with dreamy opener ‘I Belong to Love’.

Words: Rory Dollard

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