Produced and arranged by himself, Pokey LaFarge returns with a ten-song set – In The Blossom Of Their Shade.
Release date: 15th October 2021
Label: New West Records
Format: CD / Vinyl / Digital
Many in the musical fraternity can be excused, due to matters out of their control, for almost two years of inactivity. Yet, thumb-twiddling is not in Pokey’s vocabulary. We have already reviewed his commendable 2020 release Rock Bottom Rhapsody (review here), which NPR’s Fresh Air named a “Best of 2020” and an “Album that made an art of escapism.”
Now he has followed it up with the intriguing In The Blossom of Their Shade, recorded following the disruption to his touring plans to promote the successful Rock Bottom Rhapsody.
He adopts a much lighter touch to express his joy as we are released from the strict measures we have all endured and hopeful that we are heading towards some normality. A much-needed refreshing change from much doom and gloom-orientated material recorded in the past 18 months. Despite being stranded in Austin he has successfully produced a breezy summertime mood.
Employing a variety of rhythms he opens up with a reggae-styled Get It Fore It’s Gone, expanding on the virtue of making the most of your opportunities. African rhythms abound in Mi Ideal and the infectious clapping beat continues the positive vibes in Fine With Me accentuated with syncopated piano and guitar. This joyous track will surely get everyone on their feet in the upcoming solo European tour, which began in August in Switzerland and also during a tour featuring a brand new live band lineup, which will follow on later in September.
The pace changes for a more mournful Drink Of You with a Hawaiian flavoured guitar but picks up for the spritely Rotterdam, which had a video release to preview the album. The intricately composed To Love Or Be Alone never fails to interest. There are delicious musical twists and he keeps us guessing as to which way he will turn. Pokey goes country with Long For The Heaven I Seek, but with his own inimitable style. Killing Time has a gospel twinge to it but romps along cheerfully. A Latin-styled Yo-Yo bemoans fluctuating changes in a yearning for a love relationship which mirrors the ever-changing musical styles through this delightful album. A melancholy do-whop ballad Goodnight, Goodbye (Hope Not Forever) reflects what I feel about this album in that even though it has ended, you wish for more. This is the feeling many will experience at the end of his live performances too.
As well as the usual formats the album will be available as a limited 2,000 Translucent Orange Vinyl Edition packaged with a bonus Peach coloured 7” featuring an unreleased bonus track. A limited 1,000 Green Vinyl Edition will also be packaged with the bonus Peach coloured 7 inch
Pokey LaFarge was aiming to: “ create a body of work that paired emotional lyrics with a killer groove and grabby melodies.” Job done!!!! This is one of the most entertaining albums of the year.