Patty Larkin

Perishable Fruit

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Producing herself, Patty Larkin banned percussion instruments from her seventh album, a gimmick that extenuated her usual interest in texture over content, which has always distinguished her from other folkies but also frustrated some fans. This time, her self-imposed stricture forced her and her fellow musicians to sacrifice virtuosity for invention, and they did come up with some unusual sounds. But Larkin still often seemed to be at an emotional distance from her material, except when she was expressing irritation. The most impassioned performances and clear lyrics came when she was singing about what seemed to matter the most to her, "The Road" and, in "Wolf at the Door," the music business. In contrast, the love songs were idealized at best and vague at worst, and the singer rarely seemed involved in any case.

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