They say madness runs in the family. They say the same about creativity and passion. That's good news for Larkin Poe's sister duo Rebecca and Megan Lovell, the descendants of tortured artist, creative genius Edgar Allen Poe.
The Atlanta-based sisters celebrate that unique genealogy and their own eccentricities with their debut full-length album, "Kin," on Restoration Hardware's label RH Music, produced by Chris Seefried (Fitz and the Tantrums, Lana Del Rey) in Los Angeles and Damien Lewis (Rihanna, Rita Ora) in Atlanta. "I think our fans will be surprised by this album," states Rebecca proudly. "In our previous projects, there was always this pervading polish of "politeness." In this project, that polish isn’t present. 'Kin' is the ﬁrst Larkin Poe album where we were able to bring a bit more of our stage show into the studio and capture some grittier, edgier stuff. We can rock-out on guitars like the boys… so why not go ahead and do it? We let our freak ﬂag ﬂy a little higher."
"Musically," Megan, adds, "we've been a bit schizophrenic in our choices over the years; we've dabbled in many musical styles. We grew up playing classical violin and piano as little kids, our mom would drive us to weekly lessons - while at the same time, our dad was playing his classic rock albums: Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, The Band. In our early teens, we got turned on to roots music - blues, bluegrass, folk - we were a bit confused! But after a few years of searching and experimentation, we've ﬁnally found a way to piece the fragments of our artistic personalities and musical tastes together. We've found our voice."
Developing as songwriters and honing their artistic voice is a theme of great importance for the sisters. A great example of this growth is apparent in the melancholy "Overachiever", a stunningly stripped-down piano-and-vocal ballad. 'Overachiever' is, by far, the most personal song I've ever written," says Rebecca. "I tried to channel the raw honesty of Leonard Cohen with this song; I needed to sing the words of this song for myself, and also for a number of people close to me." Megan adds, "When Rebecca sang 'Overachiever' in the studio, it was at the end of the evening and we had turned all of the lights in the studio off. She knocked it out in one take, and by the end, I was crying. That’s how personal it really was."
The sisters' sound and voices came together for another reason as well: for the ﬁrst time, they actually wrote together. "Before we started working on 'Kin', Megan and I would always write separately," says Rebecca. "There are always a lot of touchy factors at play in the creative process: ego, personal perspective - or in our case, sibling rivalry - but after one too many creative ﬁghts, we ﬁnally decided to buckle down and learn how to pull together on the writing side. As a result, we've become closer and the songs have gotten better!" One such example of this closeness is the retro indie folk song, "Stubborn Love". "It's a love song we wrote to each other," says Megan.
Yet another huge change for Larkin Poe came in the form of signing their ﬁrst record deal at the end of 2013. After years of being ﬁercely independent (i.e., they self-released ﬁve EPs and toured for three years without label support), they decided to sign with RH Music. "We signed with RH Music because they believe in our authenticity. They understand that we make music for no other reason than our need to make music and want to support that need," explains Megan. "They see our passion!" Others are clearly taking note of this passion as well, including Elvis Costello and Kristian Bush (of Sugarland). Both legends have taken the sisters out on the road to serve both as opening bands and backing bands; with Elvis Costello calling them "gifted instrumentalists," while Bush praises "the poetry they make with their strings, words, and voices."
With years of domestic and international touring under their belts, and a large and loyal fan base already in place, the sisters want their fans to know that "Kin" is truly their coming of age project. "This is by far the most genuine piece of work we’ve ever released as a band," says Rebecca. "It’s our story, written in our way, played and sung by us. We call it roots-rock'n'soul. It's our whole heart and soul mashed up into a musical form."
"Violins and mandolins have been laid down in favour of slick electric guitars, their snappy vignettes of tough love bristling with a Seventies classic pop rock sheen of sinuous riffs, snappy handclaps and cheeky call and response vocals."
"The sisters share an infatuation with roots sounds, frequently incorporating traditional song structures and instruments like the mandolin and Dobro into their music, but they also boast strong pop instincts."
"On ‘KIN’, Larkin Poe have brought together a heady brew of styles and stories and created something unique - all held together by the siblings’ sumptuous harmonies."
"It’s been an extraordinary few years for females in music - but we’ve seen a production line of generic and bland Adele or Amy Winehouse wannabes. Even America has been guilty of producing vanilla singers, whereas ‘KIN’ is refreshingly bold. As distant relations to Edgar Allen Poe, Larkin Poe have creativity and imagination in their blood. ‘KIN’ finds them channeling that better than ever before. One of the records of 2014."
"...This album is the first day of the rest of their successful lives."
"Jesse is a startling and powerful story from their family history, while Overachiever is a thoughtful, finely sung, piano-backed ballad."
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