Larkin Grimm Parplar (Young God Records)
Just recounting the brief synopsis of Larkin Grimmâ€™s lifeâ€”that she grew up in a cult until the age of six, then spent the rest of her childhood in the Appalachians, frequently sleeps outdoors, has no permanent address and went to Yale art school on a full scholarshipâ€”would probably make you want to check out her music. But even that strange collision of events doesnâ€™t begin to compare to the utter bizarreness of her latest record Parplar.
It is a mishmash of styles and ideas, and a collection of captivating stories. It will most certainly be lumped in the freak-folk category, but Ms. Grimm is in a class all her own.
Her voice, at times possessed, at other times soothing as a grandmaâ€™s, is chameleonic and well suited for her theatrical urges. With it, she convincingly portrays a wide array of characters and feelings, from the humorous and promiscuous lass of â€œBlond and Golden Johnsâ€ to the mournful singer of â€œThey Were Wrongâ€.
Instrumentation on the album varies from guitar to dulcimer to some electronic treatments. And with equally wide variety of ideas and themes, there is something on this album for everyone.
The only problem, however, is that some songs seem more developed and fleshed out than others. Some seem perfectly produced while others seem rushed or even unfinished. Itâ€™s almost like youâ€™re looking into Ms. Grimmâ€™s journal or sketchbook. But again, that could be appealing to some. But overall, Parplar is a fast-paced record with plenty of numbers that get in and get out of your life just quickly enough to leave you wanting more. â€“Guy Gray