It's pretty easy to see Sky Larkin as part of a wave of British bands – along with Los Campesinos!, Slow Club, Johnny Foreigner – bands who may not share similar sounds, necessarily, but who do share a certain ethos. Their outlook is more globalised; they all seem to draw more from American indie than its British counterpart. More Pitchfork than NME.
Sky Larkin's second full length gets our verdict. To call Sky Larkin’s debut album ‘The Golden Spike’ underrated is to succumb to journalistic cliché. When your biggest influences are Pavement and Sleater-Kinney, commercial success is always going to take a back seat, even if the critics want to touch you in your special places. ‘The Golden Spike’ had hits, but it was also elusive and coy; a mischievous little indie-pop record.
From Nirvana to the White Stripes, there's a storied tradition of UK media hype catapulting emergent U.S. indie bands to international success. But for all their apparent Yankophilia, the Brits have seemed less eager to make stars out of domestic acts with a pronounced American indie-rock influence. Whether it's the Pixies-schooled punch of Future of the Left or the Pavement-inspired polemics of Los Campesinos!, recent history suggests that the adoption of American college-rock tropes will relegate you to cult status in the UK.
It's hard not to suspect that Sky Larkin are in some way responsible for the bizarre recent phenomenon of "West Yorkshire grunge". Like 2009's The Golden Spike, the Leeds trio recorded this in Seattle; they have clearly grown up worshipping the Breeders and at least one band member has been sighted wearing plaid. However, their developing sound contains far too many curveballs to be pigeonholed.
The Leeds trio get better while somehow staying the same on album two. Luke Slater 2010 It's not necessary to listen to much of Leeds trio Sky Larkin's debut record, The Golden Spike, to realise what the band are all about; and not much longer than that is needed to realise what is so appealing about the type of music they play. On that album we became familiar with a group who knew how to squeeze as good as everything out of the three-minute guitar-pop song with eyes cast across the Atlantic and their feet firmly on British soil.