Patty Larkin's dreamy 'Watch the Sky' CD

January 23, 2008 8:14:22 AM PST
Few artists are more poorly described by the term "singer-songwriter" than Patty Larkin.

The Boston-based artist's latest album, "Watch the Sky," is an artful, forward-minded collection of songs featuring dreamy textures and percolating percussion that draw inspiration from Indian melodies, Middle Eastern rhythms, classical motifs and the occasional shift into adult pop accessibility.

Over it all, Larkin's delicate yet expressive alto probes matters of the spirit and soul, repeating phrases much as she repeats percussive riffs. She pulls listeners in with mantras and searching, Zen-inspired phrases, but brings it down to earth with moments of gentle ache and sweet joy.

One of American music's most distinctive guitarists, Larkin produces and plays all the instruments on "Watch the Sky" - from bazouki to lap steel to toy organ to more the familiar sounds of guitars, bass and drum loops. Despite its impressionistic soundscapes, it's obvious that such highlights as the transcendental beat-poetry of "Beautiful" to the soulful jazz strut of "Walking in My Sleep" to the Paul Simon-like "Hallelujah" are crafted with careful exactness.

Occasionally, Larkin's atmospherics lose their center, as on the rambling "Bound Brook." But that's rare, as the majority of these 12 original tunes re-assert Larkin's standing as one of contemporary music's singular stylists.

CHECK THIS OUT: On "Here," one of warmest tracks on "Watch the Sky," Larkin summons a gentle evocation of the comfort of enduring love, making her music and words sound as sturdy and familiar as the landscape outside the front window.