Larkins, a self-confessed ‘indie pop’ band, are fast-earning a legacy as Manchester’s next big band, making progress towards taking their rightful place in the city’s vibrant scene. Hailing from the leafy suburb of Glossop, their sound is varied and exciting. Despite their firm pop roots, Larkins are “a bit more than just that”, with elements of funk and soul creeping into their songs too. Although confessing to being “not very Manchester”, it is clear they offer something more. Speaking to their frontman Josh, I learn of the important check list that they must consult as part of their creative process. Tracks must have a “killer lyric” and a “beautiful moment” — surely a good formula for success.
Legendary Manchester band The 1975 have been a big inspiration to Larkins, and it shows. It is not surprising that the comparison rumours have already started to be uttered from the cinematography of Larkins’ videos, to the dancing, visuals, and the overall experimental sound that they offer. “We’re already writing songs that would make Chris Martin green with envy,” says Josh. “We’re not concerned about who can make the most noise.” Perhaps Larkins will be next in the natural line of succession in the Manchester music canon, whether they know it yet or not.
Classing themselves as “indie pop with a bit of funk”, they revel in the fact that “the vibe at [our] shows is different.” When playing live, the band like to use a ‘theatrical’ element when playing, offering a mix of “deep, slow songs” as well as more danceable ones. They’re very much a ‘live band’, as their hope is that you will go away feeling like you have experienced some theatrics with all the ups and downs, and moments of silence building to chaotic crescendos, but always with a meaningful message behind it.
‘TV Dream’, the newest song from Larkins, has an upbeat 80’s pop-synth atmosphere. Posing as a post-modern criticism of how the media is brainwashing us, ‘TV Dream’ offers hope in a “world that has lost its mind, full of ‘plastic love’ whilst the news will say we will all be fine,” explains Josh. They even offer some bold, albeit necessary, commentary on the concerning rape culture we find ourselves in with, “can’t believe what I’m hearing, no excuses like why you wore a dress like that.” ‘TV Dream’ encompasses all of Larkins’ aims for a live performance — definitively pop synth, with lyrics offering a deeper element to the band’s initial light-hearted, fun sound.
After their recent release, and with their approaching Manchester homecoming gig, Josh seems to be positively buzzing about the band’s newfound success. Their authenticity shines through as he admits, “we thought we’d made it the first time we played a show,” then “[we] played Academy 2” and are set to “play Manchester’s Albert Hall.” But this has not been without hard work and graft. Josh explains that “a lot of work has gone into it. We gave up college and university to go on tour.” Not only is Larkins’ growing success all-encompassing but, according to the frontman, it “encompasses our whole lives.” But it seems that they wouldn’t want it any other way.
“We would do it for free. We have done it for free!” Josh jokes. Even despite being signed, he insists that money is “not what it’s about.” There seems to be a deeper, more philosophical reason as to why Larkins are releasing music, down to a feeling of “why we are here.” Josh puts it simply: “it is exactly what we want to be doing.” They are enjoying working on songwriting, researching, stagecraft, or production, to get to the point where they can release singles such as ‘TV Dream’.
When asked if there are any hopes for the future, Josh offers jokingly “world peace,” before settling perhaps more realistically on Glastonbury’s Pyramid stage as the main aim. On goals that are closer in sight, a single by the end of the year while working on the album and focusing on their upcoming O2 Apollo gig, which will be monumental in their career. Despite “bricking it and feeling the pressure,” it is a huge achievement and, with it meaning so much to the band, it is sure to be a significant marker in their career. If you want to witness a spectacle of theatre, this will be one not to miss. One thing’s for sure, Larkins aren’t done making tempestuous sounds in Manchester yet.
Don’t miss Larkins at their Manchester Albert Hall headline gig on 2nd March. Tickets here: https://www.alberthallmanchester.com/event/larkins/