Dani Larkin‘s emergence over the last year feels like it’s been a long time coming. An accomplished songwriter with an abundance of performance chops (such as the ‘Artist in residence’ for 2019’s Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival), Larkin’s 2020 rebrand has born fruit in ways that can only be described as brilliant. Her latest single, a brooding number titled ‘The Red (Maca’s Return)‘, sees the folk artist put her full aesthetic on display – a combination of ancient melodies and imagery with a contemporary fervour and arrangement.
A prime example of folkish escapism, Larkin swaps her normally piercing vocals for a shadowy growl, a suitable vehicle for the prophetic nature of her new record. Predicting the return of Maca, the Celtic goddess of War, Larkin weaves a tale that is taunt with threat and creeps ever onward with a relentless, creeping malice. Building slowly throughout, Dani makes careful use of the oral traditions of folk, in which centuries old stories were given weight by timbre and tone alone – one would be forgiven for mistaking her for a modern soothsayer delivering warnings of the armageddon.
The third single from her upcoming debut ‘Notes From A Maiden Warrior’ shows the versatility to expect – this won’t be an LP of the traditional banjo plucking forest walk soliloquies, but a diverse cast of swirling, textured folk tracks that capture an ancient Irish spirit in a contemporary sound. But its not only visually that Larkin tells her story – the accompanying video matches the tracks dark tones and pagan wordplay. Shot by The Wonder brothers in the Irish wilderness, The Red’s captivating aural climax is matched by increasingly haphazard, jagged angles and cuts that emphasise the increasingly dark and tense mood of the tracks final third. With the full album out later this month, you’re fast running out of time to jump on the Larkin hype train, but this is a good a place to start as any.