Pokey LaFarge - Manic Revelations

St. Louis artist Pokey LaFarge returns to us with album number seven, and while it may sound like high jinx and fun with it's retro "Ricky Nelson meets Eddie Cochran" sound, there are deeper elements at play. The songs that populate Manic Revelations speak of loneliness and uncertainty. Trying to find your place then not sure you really want to stay once you do. Take 'Riot In The Streets' which references the 2014 riots in Fergusson, a suburb of St. Louis: "Two AM, bars were closing / Heard the news on Channel 4 / And the TV anchor tried to say / What she thought really happened today." 'Must Be A reason' has a deceptively jaunty feel with it's horns and jangly guitars, yet it is all about heartache: "And I know, yes I know.../ The reason I will never go / Though you make me cry / Without you I would die."

If the album has one fault, with its mishmash of swing, country jazz and ragtime, is that its note-perfect imitation of Americana boarders on pastiche. However LaFarge does manage, on the whole, to carry it off. This is particularly evident in the lovely 'Bad Dreams' which lays off the note-perfect imitation and instead delivers a tune that manages to straddle both eras with ease. Other highlights include 'Mother Nature', with its Mariachi horns and LaFarge's understated delivery, and the lovely 'Silent Movie': "Silent movie cover your ears and watch the world go by." You get the feeling LaFarge wants to do just that. And with the world as it is now who can blame him.

Overall

A note-perfect imitation of Americana.

6

out of 10