Larkin McLean,
X-Rated Musical
(Best Day Ever, 2005)

Larkin McLean sounds like playful sex.

In her aptly named CD X-Rated Musical, Larkin serves up a light-hearted scoop of lust, Los Angeles style. Her songs (written together with producer/arranger Kenny Lyon) drip with bourbon and sweat, with the musky scent of sex, cigarettes and satin lingering in the air. But, while Larkin may be laughing her way to her next tease or tango, she leaves in her wake a line of conquests, jealous women and heartbroken lovers.

OK, so maybe Larkin in real life is shy, demure and virginal, but her music suggests otherwise. Her album offers 10 sultry songs of knowing jazz layered with self-confident pop, with suggestive titles such as "Devil Tuesday," "Don't Wake Up," "I Get to Be Me" and "Nobody Gets Over Ava." And she sings them in a way that suggests that one lucky listener (or several, if she's in the right mood) might get to know just what she's talking about, if he listens often and eagerly.

Oh sure, there's love and romance between the lines, but it's all wrapped up in translucent layers of seduction. And Larkin has a laugh in her voice all the way, just so listeners can be sure that she won't be the one walking away in the morning with a tear in her eye.

X-Rated Musical is a collection of flirty jazz that will leave you wanting more. Trust me, you can't bring her home with you, at least not to keep -- but her CD will come to stay.

by Tom Knapp
30 December 2006

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