Boasting such distinctive and musically significant influences is a brave and risky career move, the word ‘derivative’ skulks in the corner, shaking its head, scoffing, “Try something original, mate”. That’s where this record comes in. ‘Shop’ is shamelessly transparent about its inspirations: ‘Hatbox’ employs The Fall’s jerky beats, repetition and strangely cryptic lyrics, wiry guitars and the manic, psycho-bluesy vocal stylings of the Cramps run rife. And in darker moments, such as ‘Dirt Track’, distant, lonely guitar twangs, glowing cymbals and patient, heavy cello sighs cast the unmistakable shadow of the Dirty Three. But Lark have blurred the edges, mixing things up for further ventures into alt-folk, jazzy punk, even back-handed Gypsy wonk on ‘You Know Not’. Far from being messy, ‘Shop’ is sharp and clever – possibly derivative, definitely superb.

By Polly Rappaport

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