Leeds trio Sky Larkin's second album builds nicely on the potential they showed on 2009's The Golden Spike. Kaleide is an impressive collection of 12 livewire tracks full of rhythmic, barrelling guitars, raw drums and cymbal crashes. The obligatory comparison here is with Sleater-Kinney's accessible, and intelligent post-punk, and the similarities go beyond Katie Harkin's vocals. Sky Larkin have that same edge to their music that makes it feel both relevant and classic.
I always had a problem with Sleater-Kinney though, they were forgettable. I always enjoyed listening to them, but in between listens I would completely forget they existed. It's not their fault, it's my mental block, but I just hope the same doesn't happen with Sky Larkin because on this showing they are a band worth remembering.
Lead single Still Windmills kicks off the album on quite an epic scale, soaring guitars and an expansive sound that belies their three-piece set up. Grand in scale, it sounds a bit like an early Bloc Party single; equal parts spiky and silky. It also plays perfectly as a radio-friendly single, with hooks big enough to entice new listeners.
There are rawer moments throughout Kaleide too though. There's the weird and wonderful Spooktacular ("There's a spook at the spectacle and he's wearing your face"), or the angular post-punk rhythms of Year Dot that bring to mind S Process. Or there's the straight-ahead rockier selections like Landlocked and Coffee Drinker, which have a real smack of Sleater-Kinney about them.
"I know there's potential" sings Katie Harkin on Still Windmills, but Sky Larkin have gone beyond potential with this release. In Kaliede they have delivered a vibrant, exciting and really accomplished album. My slight worry though is that Sky Larkin seem far more popular with music critics than with the wider listening public. Reviews have been gushing, 4 and 5 stars across the board, but sometimes it just doesn't translate.
Maybe it will take something like a Mercury nomination to suddently bring them mass attention, or maybe they can build slowly, organically through word-of-mouth. Either way, Kaleide is a record which should by rights put them front and centre in the next wave of British indie bands.
Final Score: 82%