NEW WEST RECORDS 10 September 2021
New West have some interesting and unusual artists on their books and Pokey La Farge is one of them. He’s as likely to sing something from the pre-rock and roll American era as a calypso like ‘Mi Ideal’. He might then play a piece of New Orleans rock and roll. Wilfully dedicated to an earlier time and determinedly recording it with something of the sonic aesthetic, it’s an album out of time.
Like many, he set off on tour in Spring 2020, with a well-received album under his belt but was sent scurrying to shelter by the pandemic. Stuck in East Austin, where he’d been going to play SXSW, with nothing but time, he set about laying out a new set of songs. Unlike his last set, this is a positive and upbeat album, creating the sense of a dreamy hot summer afternoon. Sweetly flavoured in tune and drowsily heat-drunk, songs like ‘I Drink Of You’ are a study in wistful love; “it’s easy to love you when you’re gone / When you’re here there’s always something wrong”. Meanwhile, “Rotterdam” has a twangy surf guitar and handclap beat that echoes a fifties band from east LA and ‘Killing Time’ sits in the second wave of rock and roll.
The mix of genres seems to be a musical escapism for Pokey. He wears a variety of musical guises and tries on a set of moods, feelings and styles. Working well for the upbeat as well as the wistful, songs like ‘Long For The Heaven I Seek’ or ‘Goodnight, Goodbye (Hope Not Forever)’ show where his heart lies, channelling the lonely feel of Hank Williams. The slight warble, the drag-beat shuffles and the mood of wistful, happy acceptance make for a gently enjoyable way to step into another world for a little while.
As Pokey sings in the opening song; “Later is always too late – get it ‘fore it’s gone”