ESSENTIAL Ride That Cyclone

The Boston Globe | TRISTRAM LOZAW

This untamed, moon-worshiping, blood-and-guts Appalachian gypsy is a peculiar folkie.

Larkin Grimm's 15-song debut for Michael Gira's Young God
label is informed by sex magic, the Holy Ghost, and lizards; Gira calls her
"the sound of the eternal mother and wrath of all women." Indeed, as Grimm
has stated, "Parplar" is "a lesbian feminist album," estrogen battling the
testosterone of her "beefy male collaborators" - labelmates Fire on Fire and
others adding whirls of accordion, horns, banjo, and guitars. These
synergistic skirmishes add a feral energy to the tuneful, haunting gallop of
"Ride That Cyclone" and the short, disturbing "The Dip." "Damn the man in
you," Grimm intones on the sprightly title track. But her shaman's dementia,
as eccentrically vibrant as it is (though subject to a chipmunk-y
shrillness), isn't Grimm's best calling card. That prize belongs to the
old-world purity of her voice. There's an almost tender innocence found
beneath the stark, dark lullaby of "They Were Wrong" and the hallucinogenic
coos of "Be My Host." Add the gently clanging symphonette "My Justine" and
the bubbly traditionalism of "All the Pleasures" and, heard in the right
light, "Parplar" is a cunningly remarkable album. (Out now) - TRISTRAM LOZAW