Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Jul 13th 2010 3:30PM by Stephen Dowling
Named after a massive slab of Antarctic ice which disintegrated and eventually disappeared into the briny deep earlier this century, Larsen B are a folk-influenced group whose debut lush, crisp debut album didn't require them moving from their home of Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire (Population 6,058, birthplace of silver screen actor Reginald Owen).
"It's hard to be in a big city and not get caught up in a music scene; it's likely to influence your sound," explains the band's drummer Bagz (aka Will Baguley). "Then you can end up with a group of bands sounding really similar, which is not great for music. We've never been part of a scene, and I don't think we ever would be as we are pretty isolated where we rehearse and record."
The name Larsen B -- the moniker of that dearly-departed ice shelf – has cropped up in popular music before; indie eccentrics British Sea Power named a track from their 2005 album 'Open Season after it. So what was the appeal of naming their band after it?
"When we first formed Larsen B, we decided to buy some gear and form a crude studio in an old out-building on the farm where Simon's parents live. The name derived from the fact that the farm was once owned by Apsley Cherry-Garrard, a member of the doomed Scott expedition to Antarctica. We wanted a name that linked in with this, and we came across one in Larsen B from a British Sea Power song."
Described by the Guardian as "Coldplay jamming with Mumford and Sons," the band -- also counting singer Paddy Smith and pianist-guitarist Simon Palmer -- have also been likened to pastoral Pacific Coast folkies Fleet Foxes and the early 80s likes of Pale Fountains and Aztec Camera.
Bagz isn't so sure. "Neither of those bands are in any of our record collections. We've also been likened to other bands none of us own records by: Supertramp, Andy Pratt, XTC, Prefab Sprout." Bagz says the likes of My Morning Jacket and Wilco are closer to what the band are trying to aspire to.
Debut 'Musketeer' begins with 'Codeine',' a song that goes from simple piano singalong to swelling epic in one spine-tingling moment -- think Wild Beasts with some of the look-at-me tendencies reined in. Along the way there's the insistent 'Robots Learn to Love,' a dreamy sci-fi lullaby, and the sweetly melodic 'Marilyn.'
The band's chopice of recording location has been described as spooky. Bagz says, "Yes, recording in the early hours of the morning while foxes and vixens are screaming in the nearby woods is pretty spooky if you've ever heard that sound."
In between the howls of local wildlife, the band roped in the services of their local postman, who turned out to be a dab hand on certain instruments. "We kept bumping into him whilst we were recording. We got talking and it turned out he was a harmonica and accordion player in an Irish folk band. He did a few tracks on the album, we'd like to get him to do more on the second record if he can and wants to. We're not sure if he knows which songs he plays on, we sampled some of his outtakes and mixed them into various parts of the record."
'Muketeer' is out now on Old Radio Tunes. The band play several festival dates, details on their MySpace.