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Pokey LaFarge – Manic Revelations album review

The quirky singer-songwriter returns with a new record.

Pokey LaFarge
Credit: Nate Burrell
Pokey LaFarge - Manic Revelations

Credit: Rounder Records

Pokey LaFarge has been honing his craft since his self-released 2006 album Marmalade. The singer-songwriter has explored American roots music and he pays homage to the greats of yesteryear while forging his own sound. 2015’s Something in the Water was somewhat of a breakthrough album for LaFarge taking him overseas and marking his debut on Rounder Records. Two years on from that excellent album, LaFarge is back with new album Manic Revelations.

If you’ve been following LaFarge this far, then you know what you’re in for with Manic Revelations. Musicianship and storytelling is at the heart of the record, as is always the case with LaFarge’s releases, and the album sounds anything but contemporary. From the doo-wop feel of Better Man Than Me through to the dramatic Spanish feel of Going to the Country, LaFarge serves up plenty of variety and you can never accuse him of being dull.

The album opens with Riot in the Streets, the album’s lead single, and it’s a punchy rock’n’roll number with memorable horns and steady beat. It’s an upbeat and bold start to the record. On Must Be a Reason LaFarge unleashes a grittier vocal that is evocative of Roy Orbison while Bad Dreams harks back to the glorious 50s and it’s absolute bliss.

Elsewhere on the record Silent Movie proves to be a standout as LaFarge creates harmonies over dreamy melodies, Wellington is joyously perky, and Mother Nature has a darker more bluesy tone that sets it apart from the rest of the tracks on the record. The album comes to a close with I Will Never Change, an atmospheric song with a whiff of a Mariachi band about it.

Manic Revelations doesn’t particularly take LaFarge’s sound into new territory but he doesn’t necessarily need to do that. He’s driving in his own lane and there’s no one else making music like him in the current music industry. He’s a little bit country, a little bit Americana and plenty rock’n’roll, and it’s a blend that makes him endlessly endearing and intriguing.

 

Track Listing: 1. Riot in the Streets 2. Must Be a Reason 3. Better Man Than Me 4. Bad Dreams 5. Mother Nature 6. Silent Movie 7. Good Luck Charm 8. Going to the Country 9. Wellington 10. I Will Never Change Record Label: Rounder Records Release Date: 19th May 2017

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