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Larabee: A Slice of Alt-Country Pop Goodness

A Slice of Alt-Country Pop Goodness
By John G. Larson
Contributing WriterLarabee "Expose a Little Wire"

Imagine Whiskeytown with some pop or Big Star with a bit more twang and the result would be a little band by the name of Larabee. To be fair, Larabee is just one guy named Matt Maguire.  Hailing from Philadelphia, with the help of a revolving cast of characters, Maguire has crafted a promising debut. The short but catchy EP, entitled, Expose A Little Wire is a slice of pure alt-country pop goodness.

Like Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe and 90s Tempe bands such as The Gin Blossoms, Refreshments, and Dead Hot Workshop, Larabee has managed to marry a good blend of roots music and pop. The four songs contained on this EP run the gamut from sparkle to shadow, sounding nostalgically familiar, yet current at the same time.

The lead off track, “Little Liar,” sets the tone with an in your face guitar/harmonica intro that launches into an instantly catchy and memorable song. But, Maguire does not subscribe to the “Fire/Desire” school of songwriting.  Instead, he opts for the ambiguous route that artists such as Ray Davies (Kinks) employed to such great success.  Nowhere is this more evident than on the stripped-down “9:58 PM,” a story song fueled only by 50s style reverb-drenched guitar with an ending that is very much left to the listener’s interpretation.

03 9 58 PM by Larabee

Recently, Turnstyled, Junkpiled interviewed Matt Maguire about the EP as well as his career in general:

Expose A Little Wire has some great multi-instrumentation. In order to stick to a shoestring budget, were you ever tempted to record it in a bare bones style with just acoustic guitar and vocals?
No.  Prior bands were always electric guitars, bass and drums, so I wanted to mix up the instrumentation a bit and expand the range of sounds.  I had the chance to use a nice mix of guitars – acoustic and electric, we used an upright acoustic bass on one track, piano, organ, pedal steel guitar and cello.  Getting a good balance of those sounds was really important.  My producer, Ken Buono, was very good at getting the arrangements and sounds in proper shape.

All 4 songs are so strong and individually compelling. Would it be too much to ask if there are more songs in the hopper, so to speak, that have been written but are just waiting to be recorded?
There are more songs written and the Expose A Little Wire EP was originally going to have another track on it.  Budgetary constraints made me drop one of them.  I am writing and recording new material now and I hope to get more songs released in 2012.

Is Larabee going to continue to be Matt Maguire project with a revolving group of players, or has there been thought of building a permanent band?
 I like the idea of working with a revolving cast of musicians rather than working within a committed band structure.  The time commitment required to put four, five or more musicians in a room on a consistent basis and to do it well is difficult.  A band has dynamics that often pull in different directions, rather than the same direction and that is what kills most bands.  It’s more convenient to get players to join a recording session when they are available and it adds musical skill sets that I don’t have.

Finally, are you playing any live gigs in and around the Philadelphia area, or is Larabee remaining a studio beast at this time?
Playing live shows is overrated.  While I enjoy seeing good live music, I never felt the need to perform and the downside of gigging always outweighed the upside.  I never had any interest in playing solo, so live shows would only exist in a full band format.  At this time, however, the studio beast will continue to be the vehicle for the songs.  There are no plans to take Larabee live, but I would consider it if the right opportunity arose.

For more information on Larabee, visit

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