Self Made Man is the fifth full length album from multi-talented Georgia sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell. Originally a three-piece known as The Lovell Sisters, the group has been touring and recording in its current form since 2010, refining and expanding their own brand of stripped down, slide-heavy, blues-laced roots rock.
The opening track She’s a Self Made Man is tightly coiled, riff-driven stomper that pushes Rebecca’s soulful, howling vocals to the forefront and brings to mind Rival Sons at their propulsive best. Although the later tracks take a turn away from straight-up rock ‘n’ roll, the band manage to sustain this level of relentless energy throughout the album: there isn’t a single track here over four minutes, and nothing resembling a ballad in sight. Danger Angel and Every Bird That Flies both take the tempo down a notch and feature beautifully dreamy, layered vocal harmonies, but their languid, Southern gothic swagger leaves absolutely no room for sentimentality.
Second single Holy Ghost Fire opens with a sparse, tremolo heavy guitar lick, building towards a lazy verse reminiscent of Blue Oyster Cult’s Godzilla, and is one of the strongest songs on the album. The band’s talent for enormous, interesting hooks is consistently impressive, punctuating even the most kinetic, groove-laden tracks. Keep Diggin’, Back Down South and Tears of Blue To Gold allow Megan’s lap steel guitar to swoop to the forefront, flirting with nostalgic Americana, gospel-inspire vocals and jangly bluegrass licks, but are all anchored by instantly memorable, sing-along choruses.
Ex-Con and Easy Street, on the other hand, close out the album in slightly underwhelming fashion: the former just about saved by another glorious, soaring chorus and the latter unfortunately coming out the wrong side of honky-tonk, line dancing cliché.
Although they are treading well-worn ground the short, highly polished tracks on Self Made Man manage to combine elements from across the entire spectrum of Southern music with Larkin Poe’s own distinct melodic sensibilities and punchy, no-frills production values. Long live the South. Well, the music at least.