(JVC Victor)

How can I communicate to you my feelings about Jeff Larson’s brand new album?


Got it?

Let’s try to break it down, shall we?

When I was growing up in the early 70s, I enjoyed riding in the back of my Dad’s Ford Escort, listening to his 8-tracks of Bread, Bee Gees, America, Wings, CSNY and so on.

Sepia has effectively transported me to that special time, a magical evocation of a sublime epoch in pop music – where breezy rhythms coalesced with rustic sensibilities topped with luscious melodies and harmonies that entranced and thrilled.

Jeff mentioned to me: “it's all about turning 40 and taking stock and breaking through sepia to color...” and so the songs are fairly reflective and thoughtful as Jeff comes to the terms with an important milestone in his life. And Jeff chooses to look forward – “I know, I know/I’ll find my way.” Authenticity with your pop, doesn’t get better, folks!

For me, the highlights include the pleasing opener “Windblown Mind,” where the acoustic guitars gleam, the backing vocals soothe and Jeff croons about the diverse moods we experience in any given day; the Byrdsy folk-rock opus “What About My Dreams,” where the wistful regret is palpable – “What about my tears/Always out of sight/Falling in the dark/Dying in the light;” the dynamic “Getting Into Yesterday,” where Jeff recalls Joe Pernice’s plaintive musings whilst making a case for leaving the past behind – “So stop,/Getting into yesterday/Always with a price to pay” and the languorous “Hazy Sunshine” which is probably the best song David Gates never wrote.

Now, Jeff may not be first on the lips of hip popsters (or pop hipsters) but if you’re into the likes of the Pernice Brothers, King Radio, the Thrills and the Jayhawks, then there is no reason why Sepia should not be a part of your essential acquisitions for 2004. A+