Pokey LaFarge returns with In the Blossom of Their Shade, a breezy record with brushes of calypso, flamenco and lots of romantic vocal harmonies. This is his ninth LP and third on New West Records, showcasing yet another side of his versatile artistry. The ten song set, co-produced by LaFarge and Chris Seefried, is the follow up to LaFarge’s critically acclaimed Rock Bottom Rhapsody.
On In the Blossom… LaFarge strikes the right balance between his embrace of vintage style and modern cool. Sometimes it does become rather forgettable. In fact, there’s very few earworms here but as a collection, the record works. Unlike its melancholy predecessor, In the Blossom… showcases the positivity of coming out of the darkness and into the light. After seeing his tour plans scuppered by a global pandemic, LaFarge hunkered down in East Austin to work.
The record was nearly titled Siesta Love since it captures the thematic notion of being the perfect summer afternoon soundtrack and is a far cry from the swing and blues-infused songs of his earlier work. Rather than let the depressing daily reality of infections and death counts act as his muse, he has instead produced an album which counters with a reminder of sunnier days, travel aspirations and being together again. LaFarge set out to create a body of work that pairs emotional lyrics with diverse grooves and sweet melodies. He sings:
“Lost in the shadow searching for peace / I long for the heaven I seek”
On Rotterdam, we get a sense of his longing to do what so many artists crave post-pandemic – getting back on the road:
“Is this real life / Or just who I am / I long for the Netherlands”
LaFarge does a good job of making his listener want to join him in getting ourselves up and remembering the past 18 months were a blip. And it’s time to enjoy ourselves again. He sings on album opener, Get It Fore It’s Gone:
“I’m gonna live life just like a butterfly / It’s here today then kiss the world goodbye” before reminding us that “Later is always too late”.
It’s doubtful this record will stay in your listening pile for too long but its breezy disposition and soothing songs will help you ease into the autumn months.