“Can we carve it out/A life in the shape I care about?”, asks Katie Harkin on Sky Larkin’s third album, ‘Motto’. It’s eight years – and one recent line-up change – since the Leeds band formed, and frustratingly, their boisterous grunge-pop has never quite received the dues it deserves. But, as the anxiously aggressive ‘Carve It Out’ makes plain, doing it honourably and honestly at least makes the struggle all the more worthwhile – and romantic and professional struggles are writ all over ‘Motto’. The title track rails against sloganeers without a cause (and sounds a fair bit like Sonic Youth’s ‘My Friend Goo’ while it’s at it), while on the chipper ‘Newsworthy’, Harkin asks a potential love interest to “sucker-punch me” with vital stories that break through the everyday murk. Where Sky Larkin were once winsome and breezy, ‘Motto’ pounds ahead with heart-punching defiance and desperation to be heard. Listen up.
- Record label: Wichita