Two voices, two guitars, gorgeous harmonies and eleven classic songs reimagined in a rootsy, fresh manner. It’s simply quite outstanding, and some of the arrangements, you’d have to say, are better than the originals – at the very least, they bring out the best in the songs and show why these songs are, indeed, classics. They stand the test of time – especially when, for some of them, the trappings of the era in which they first appeared are dispensed with.
Take Phil Collins’ 1980 In the Air Tonight – take away the heavy reverb and those annoying drums and replace them with the sparsest of arrangements, some delicious harmonies and a nice bit of slide guitar and the song is rescued.
Rebecca and Megan Lovell weave this sort of musical magic on the rest of the songs, in an absolute delight of an album. Kindred Spirits is the first-ever acoustic covers album from the Grammy nominated sisters and is their second album released this year. Quite a feat, after the excellent Self Made Man from June time,
This year should have been packed with gigs for Larkin Poe all over the world playing to their ever-expanding fan base, but despite the damper the pandemic has put on all that, the Lovell sisters have not been idle, playing a lot of virtual concerts and making numerous YouTube videos of cleverly conceived cover songs. Which has now given rise to this collection of covers of songs from artists like Eric Clapton, Robert Johnson, Bo Diddley, Neil Young, Elton John and others.
Elton John’s Crocodile Rock in Larkin Poe’s hands somehow becomes so much more fun than the original, now driven by acoustic guitar rather than piano, and featuring Rebecca Lovell’s exquisite vocals.
The album kicks off with a short version of Robert Johnson’s Hellhound on my Trail – but the paltry 43 seconds worth leaves you gasping for more, before the sisters launch into an almost unrecognizable version of Lenny Kravitz’s Fly Away (all the better for that).
Then it’s into Neil Young’s Rockin’ in the Free World, where, now that it’s stripped of the electric rock trappings, we can appreciate Young’s serious critique of America, with the ironic reference to the “free world.” The song is a bit like Springsteen’s Born in the USA, which, when stripped back becomes a deadly serious social commentary rather than a rock anthem.
There’s a little country too. The Allman Brothers’ Ramblin’ Man, Megan Lovell’s slide guitar giving it the yee haw factor.
Most of the arrangements, while quite different from the original, keep the same sort of vibe in general, so the songs are readily recognizable, though differently interpreted. In Bell Bottom Blues, though, they keep the same basic slide guitar riff going as in Eric Clapton’s original, but the pared back arrangement sets it apart and really does show off the song admirably.
This album is just great fun from start to finish, and so good are the arrangements of a well-chosen set of classical songs, you’ll be listening to it again and again. Highly recommended.
Catch our interview with Rebecca and Megan Lovell here.
And our review of Self Made Man here.
- Hellhound On My Trail (Robert Johnson)
- Fly Away (Lenny Kravitz)
- Rockin’ In The Free World (Neil Young)
- (You’re The) Devil In Disguise (Elvis Presley)
- In The Air Tonight (Phil Collins)
- Nights In White Satin (The Moody Blues)
- Who Do You Love (Bo Diddley)
- Take What You Want (Post Malone)
- Ramblin’ Man (The Allman Brothers)
- Bell Bottom Blues (Derek & The Dominoes)
- Crocodile Rock (Elton John)