These are torch songs for when it rains ash, creation ballads for when the earth turns inside out. Ghosts of Art Ensemble of Chicago and Rahsaan Roland Kirk color the air, yet Lafawndah’s mastery of pop songcraft, vocal production and razor-honed clarity of purpose cut through. In addition to the Lafawndah originals, The Fifth Season features interpretations of hybrid-folk godfather Beverly Glenn Copeland’s “Don’t Despair” and acid-impressionist prodigy Lili Boulanger’s “Old Buddhist Prayer.” Album highlight “You, at the End” deploys a poem by poet-performer Kate Tempest to aching, rift-tearing ends, and french dream-trap wraith Lala &ce features on “Le Malentendu”.
The Fifth Season anchors Lafawndah as a descendent of forebearers Brigitte Fontaine and Scott Walker - a born theatric whose acid humor warps the sub-continental undertow of her emotive storytelling. Lafawndah’s elementalism on The Fifth Season finds her imagination more agile than ever, and recent live shows have evinced a drive to push these compositions further out, deeper, and more aflame.