Being a touring member of bands such as Sleater-Kinney, Wild Beasts, Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett, guitarist for Sky Larkin, as well as venturing into the pop world by being a backing vocalist for Dua Lipa on U.S. show Saturday Night Live, have all somehow fed into Katie Harkin’s debut solo album.  The album was written in a cottage in Peak District as well as on the road, in LA, Sheffield and at Sonic Youth’s Echo Canyon West Studio in New Jersey, as schedules would allow, yet somehow it all threads together well, like an exotic indie-rock tapestry.

Tracks like ‘Mist On Glass’ have Harkin’s angular guitar sound melting nicely into lush melodies which twist and turn in all directions, backed by basslines you want to dance around the room to, and a pounding drum beat powering the whole thing along. As Harkin states “many of the songs grew from the tension between opposites. Between the wilderness and the city” and it’s these tensions which give Harkin’s tunes their ingenuity. There’s the spaciously epic rock charged blast of ‘Decade’ then there’s the more groove laden ‘Sun Stay With Me’. ‘Nothing The Night Can’t Change’ is also an electro charged guitar stomper featuring Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa, and Jenn Wasner from Wye Oak, whereas ‘Red Virginia Creeper’ has Harkin creating a moody atmospheric tune with electronic flashes and guitars slicing through.

“Growing up in the North, you can be on the moors and at a warehouse party in the same day if you have the bus fare” Harkin stated in the press release, and it’s that sense of spacious guitar sounds mixed with more dance worthy tunes which makes ‘Harkin’ such an intriguing listen, and a brilliant debut album.

Harkin: Out Now (Hand Mirror Records)

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From the early days of creating handmade zines, in a DIY paper and glue style, interviewing bands around town, then pestering Piccadilly Records to sell them, to writing for various independent mags such as Chimp and Ablaze, writing about the music I love is still a great passion. After testing the music industry waters in London with stints at various labels, being back in my hometown again, writing about this city’s vibrant music scene is as exciting as ever. All time favourite bands include Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Patti Smith although anything from electro to folk via blues and pysch rock will also do nicely too. A great album, is simply a great album, regardless of whatever musical cage you put it in.