Larkin Grimm | The Last Tree | Review | Joris Heemskerk

These songs inhabit a warmer heart, a gentler but ultimately mysterious soul.

Everyone has a little place in their minds which only they can access. It’s the place where every once in a while those hidden phantasies pop up. A strange fetish or that weird yearning for something you can’t ever get. Or maybe just a forbidden paradise where innocent virgins wave palmleafs at your wellsculpted body. Larkin Grimm already decided to give us a peak into her special phantasie spot on her debut, “Harpoon”, an arresting folkalbum that she described as acoustic blackmetal, which is a little off the mark but could easily be special place fetish for all I know.

Most of the time, this new album wanders along at the same sleepwalking pace, her voice a whisper then an angelic croon. The minimalist acoustic decoration makes it sound naked but this is far from Dead Raven Choir acoustic black metal. These songs inhabit a warmer heart, a gentler but ultimately mysterious soul. Misanthropy ain’t living here but ghosts surely aren’t too far away. The album’s highlight is without a doubt ‘The Most Excruciating Vibe’, a fucked up murderballad with vocal contributions by Lara Polango alongside eerie droning and unforced overdubs that give the song it’s schizophrenic personality.

‘The Most Excruciating Vibe’ is Grimm at her most psychedelic, with ‘Into The Grey Forest, Breathing Love’ not far behind. Other times she chooses a much simpler format. The titletrack for instance is just a tiny and subtle folksong with some acoustic guitar strumming and the tickle tockle of marimba’s. Sometimes that’s all it takes and there’s are plenty of that on “The Last Tree”, besides the occasional psychedelic blats this album matches nicely as a laidback companion to Espers’ superb latest album. 8/10 -- Joris Heemskerk (16 October, 2006)