Larkahl – Journal

Journal cover art James – “Our buddies Larkahl recently sent along their press package to us and while we might have time to review this album in the future, we are so back loaded with albums that we wouldn’t be able to get to it in a timely manner. Instead we offer you the press package that was sent to us because quite frankly it’s just a damn good read (the Long and Pretentious version of course. If you’re willing to listen to 12 minute post-rock songs you should be willing to read 4 paragraphs right? “


The short and to-the-point version

Larkahl is a four-piece instrumental band based in Eskilstuna, Sweden, made up of four friends who first met back in our school days. An early incarnation of the band released a few recordings as a three-piece back in 2009, but since 2012 we’ve been recording and playing live with the current line-up:

Martin Hellström – drums
Tomas Johansson – guitar
Emil Wallman – bass
Oskar Westerlund – guitar

Listen to and download our music (for free!) on Bandcamp or Soundcloud, or follow us on Facebook for up-to-date news about recordings, live shows and whatever else we’re up to at the moment.

The long and pretentious version

Linguistically speaking, Larkahl doesn’t mean anything. At least that was the intention – to find a name that sounded beatiful but had no particular meaning in any language, although of course we can’t be sure we haven’t missed some more obscure language that’s out there. A cynic might point out how it’s convenient for a band to choose a name like that because it’s easier to find on Google or stick out among the band names on a show poster. But isn’t there enough cynicism in the world already, anyway?

What Larkahl means to us members of the band, is music that isn’t afraid of mixing the swirling soundscapes of shoegaze or ambient music with the trance-inducing monotony of heavy, doomy metal, or with the odd meters and effect pedal trickery of progressive or noise rock, sometimes within the confines of a single song. It means always to choose risking being perceived as pretentious rather than boring. What we hope that Larkahl will come to mean to our listeners, is music that isn’t afraid of being neither poppy and catchy, nor weird and surprising, but that after all still sounds unmistakably, well… Larkahl. We don’t have any lofty aspirations of giving birth to a brand new genre, but neither do we bother ourselves with trying to just remake the same old songs we’ve all heard a hundred times before. (Seriously, we enjoy Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky and Godspeed You! Black Emperor as much as the next guy with a flannel shirt and hipster beard, but there are already WAY more than enough almost interchangeable bands that do the whole instrumental post-rock-crescendo-core-call-it-what-you-will thing!) We sincerely believe that it’s possible to create music that speaks loud and clear without lyrics and vocals, and enjoy the challenge of trying to do that within the confines of a traditional four piece rock band setting. (Also, neither of us are particularly good singers, but that’ll be our little secret, OK?)

At the time of writing (March 2014), we’ve just recently released our first album. It’s made up of songs from our first several years as a band, both old and new pieces. But since we appreciate the traditional album format, we’ve tried our best to make it a coherent and thought through work rather than just throwing together a bunch of songs. Since we apparently enjoy not only nerding out about pedalboards, but also contradicting ourselves, it’s actually not strictly instrumental but does contain a few spoken word contributions. Not being anywhere close to being able to make a living from our music, this debut album is a work of endless hours of writing, rehearsing, arguing and struggling to find out what we want our music to sound like. So despite recording it with quite a portion of DIY spirit, with zero budget in a free studio, we’ve achieved a recording that we’re immensely proud of. It’s available as a free digital download through our Bandcamp site, or to stream on Soundcloud.

So what’s next in the world of Larkahl? Having forced ourselves to put the finishing touches on our older songs for the debut album, we’ve been inspired to work on completely new material which is already rapidly taking shape for a future release. Judging from the progress so far, it will probably be a little bit shorter and more to-the-point than “Journal”, maybe an EP or mini-album, and will probably also show more post-metal and progressive/mathy influences. We’re making good progress and are aiming for a release sometime in the later half of 2014, but no promises. Only having played a couple of small shows so far, we also really look forward to hopefully getting the chance to present our music to more live audiences.

With the warmest of greetings from the dark Swedish winter,

Tomas (and the other three members of Larkahl)


tags: 5/4 time experimental ambient debut album instrumental post-metal post-rock progressive psychedelic spoken word Sweden