February 27, 2003

Test Spin: Patty Larkin

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I opened the CD case, pulled out the cover, and started reading the lyrics before I listened to the actual CD. The graphics were very appealing, red everywhere (for luck, of course), and some fun and fashionable Chinese symbols. A friend told me that the character on the front actually did mean red; I give Larkin a bit of respect for using the real character, and not just one that looked neat and pretty, as tends to happen.

The music itself seems rather pedestrian, nothing too exciting or attention getting. There’s nothing here that I haven’t heard before, or heard in a more imaginative and entertaining way. Larkin has a soothing voice that she uses effectively, but I feel that the album is a little contrived, not nearly as true as it could be.

Before each song in the liner notes, Larkin writes a little introduction to acquaint the listener with her own particular state of mind and the experience she had that led to the creation of the song. These are definitely more interesting than the actual songs, and more direct.

There are a few stand out songs on the disc, notably “Italian Shoes,” which achieves the right balance of breeziness and melancholy. “Too Bad” has Larkin sounding quite like Sarah McLachlan, crooning about lost love over a rare, backup-vocal chorus.

Overall it’s a pretty mellow CD, one that would probably do quite nicely in a coffeehouse. So, if you like coffee, and you have a house, you just might get a bit of play out of this disc.

Archived article by Sue Karp