Larrikin Love: The Freedom Spark
Genre-leaping Thamesbeaters are hard to pin down but easy to love
Up at NME HQ lies a secret tool known as the NME Band Pigeonholing Machine. When we get confused or lazy we switch it on and it takes over. Lob in Arcade Fire and it tells you “Apocalyptic Pop-Opera.” Chuck Razorlight at it and it screams “Skinny-jeaned Sting”. It works with anything, apart from The Kooks that is, to which it replies “Fuck. Right. Off.” We mention this because the debut LP from Larrikin Love appears to be a slippery bastard when it comes to genres. Calypso-punk? Gypsy-ska? Pogues-on-PCP? Clearly, Larrikin have studied at the same genre-leaping school as fellow Thamesbeat tinkers Mystery Jets.
Back in the day people had them marked as mere Libertines copyists, citing their ability to reduce indie disco dancefloors to rubble as evidence. But for Larrikin, music’s about exploration, not dumbing down. So for every cribbed Clash chord (‘Forever Untitled’) there’s ‘Happy As Annie’’s cracking banjo riff, ‘Six Queens’’ frenzied psychedelia or ‘Meet Me By The Getaway Car’’s carnival-crazed reggae. The latter track’s lyrics (“Send my love to the city, for I’ll be having an affair this summer”) distances them from their peers, looking for romance, not in the gutters but, among the countryside’s “crispy leaves”.
Such a contrary nature leaves us bowled over and unable to pin Larrikin Love down. We’re left with no choice but to feed the record into our machine and… (huge explosion followed by automated voice reply)… We’re Sorry, NME’s Band Pigeonholing Service Is Out Of Order.