Dani Larkin: Notes for a Maiden Warrior review – A promising debut

The Northern Irish musician’s voice is her greatest strength on an album of two halves

Notes for a Maiden Warrior
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Artist: Dani Larkin
Genre: Singer / Songwriter
Label: Self-released

She has a master’s degree in international conflict and co-operation, so Danielle Carragher – aka Dani Larkin – is well-versed in seeing things from opposing aspects.

That may go some way to explaining her debut album, which is described as an 
album of two halves: the first few songs here reflect the "Warrior" of the title and are brimming with a wild fierceness, as heard on the ominous plucked banjo of The Mother Within and standout track The Red (Maca's Return), which references Ulster folklore and teeters on calamity as it builds to an intense climax.

The Northern Irish musician softens her approach with the “Maiden” half of the album, incorporating a trilogy of love songs and the softer folk-pop of Samson and Goliath – tracks that explore the transformative power of love and the human experience. The Magpie, meanwhile, displays Larkin’s talent as a player, the flutter and twang of her acoustic guitar bending to create an intoxicating brume.

Her striking voice is her greatest strength, yet most of these songs are infused with the same sense of ominous melancholy and her impressive vocals are not quite strong enough to sustain a whole album of variations on the same theme. There is promise within this debut, but it feels like Larkin has a better collection ahead of her.

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy is a freelance journalist and broadcaster. She writes about music and the arts for The Irish Times