'Self Made Man' Review: Larkin Poe's latest record swells with raw melodies and natural energies
Nashville-based Larkin Poe sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell's new album drops on June 12
American roots rock band Larkin Poe is all set to release their new full-length album 'Self Made Man' on June 12. The new album follows their fourth studio album 'Venom & Faith', which released in 2018.
Originally from Atlanta, the Nashville-based Larkin Poe sisters, Rebecca and Megan Lovell began their musical careers as teenagers in 2005 with the formation of a bluegrass/Americana group, the Lovell Sisters, with their younger sister, Jessica Lovell. After self-releasing two independent albums and touring successfully for four years – appearing on Garrison Keillor's 'A Prairie Home Companion', and performing at Bonnaroo Music Festival – the Lovell Sisters announced the group's disbandment in December 2009. It wasn't until the following year, just a month later, that Larkin Poe was birthed.
Larkin Poe was the name of the sisters' great great great grandfather, and it is also notably interesting that the sisters are descendants of the creative genius Edgar Allan Poe.
Over the course of their career as Larkin Poe, the sister act has earned widespread success and acclaim. The group's cover of the traditional song 'John the Revelator' featured as the ending music in Season 3, Episode 13 of the Fox TV series 'Lucifer'. Larkin Poe's self-produced third album 'Peach' was nominated for a Blues Foundation Best Emerging Artist Album award. Their previous album 'Venom & Faith' earned them a Number 1 slot on the Billboard Blues Album Chart and was also nominated for the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album.
At first, it is hard not to notice the unrelenting power behind the new album. If any sole message comes to the fore on 'Self Made Man', it is an announcement: "We are Larkin Poe!" It's bold without hesitation, in-your-face, hard, gritty, soulful, and everything in between. Although recording quality is not crisp, as rich in synth or other electronic instruments as many other albums yield to lately, 'Self Made Man' wants you to swell in more raw, natural energies.
The new record's similarly-titled opening track 'She's A Self Made Man' is an explosive musical kick in the gut. With similar resonances to a Wolfmother banger, the track resounds in its opening with a sweeping rock 'n' roll rhythm and heavily-distorted guitar as Rebecca anthems, "Shooting out the lights, and the smoke alarms / Keep your finger crossed, I'm a lucky charm / Like a cannonball, moving down the track / Baby's on her way, she ain't coming back."
Continue to listen, and it becomes clear that Larkin Poe wants to leave you impacted as they play their music. 'Holy Ghost Fire', the following track, carries empowering feminine energy underlining its sonically hard instrumentation. The song is a strut of female confidence over a musical muscle flex of masculinity, perhaps evolved into something more relatable for a wider audience. "Burn baby, burn with that holy ghost fire / From your fingers to the frets, gonna testify / Sing! Sing, baby sing, let your sorrow pass by / Lift our voices with the smoke, rising higher. Burn with that holy ghost fire," sings Rebecca.
The upbeat 'God Moves On The Water', plays out a story, as lyrics recall tragedies from the past. "Year of nineteen hundred and twelve / April the fourteenth day. Great Titanic struck an iceberg." and "The rains came down in twenty-six / Louisiana up Arkansas-way" and "When the streets of San Francisco / Buckled like a horseshoe belt / And the fires raged and the buildings fell." Each instance is used to question the "moves" of God as "good folks" endure pain while the music kicks up a swelling trance-like frenzy in this funky, gospel chant.
The album is not entirely heavy in rock and roll. Larkin Poe's Southern heritage shines through on 'Danger Angel'. The band's country and bluegrass histories are evident in the song and it is beautifully melodic, proving the sisters' expansive skillset as multi-instrumentalists.
'Self Made Man' will have you elevated in emotion, relishing its powerful music, as well as perking your ears to its lyrical antheming and storytelling. For those who enjoy the country, Americana, roots rock, blues, and soul, this one is for you.