Elvis Perkins | Elvis Perkins in Dearland

XL (2009)
By ZETH LUNDY  |  March 3, 2009
3.0 3.0 Stars

Elvis Perkins is the third Elvis on my iPod, and he's also the least controversial of the lot: he doesn't shake his pelvis or appropriate the unsung musical styles of others, and he certainly hasn't engaged in an epithet-laced bar fight at a Holiday Inn.

Perkins's bag is a knack for making the lonely conceits of the contemporary singer-songwriter sound uplifting. His sophomore release, Elvis Perkins in Dearland, which shares the name of his terrific band, offers both minor- and major-key songs, all of them extending their arms skyward like huzzahs from the barstool; even "Doomsday" is quite the reveler.

Perkins's simple, folk-hymn melodies are helped along by New Orleans brass, harmonica, B-3 organ, and harmonium, their trumpeting and wheezing sounds adding levity to blunt statements like "Black is the color of a strangled rainbow." This push-and-pull makes for a listening experience that's introspective and celebratory, a beautiful confusion in your gut — or, as Perkins puts it near the end, "We were happy once, you and me, when we were sad."
Related: Bio beware, Elvis Perkins, That kind of pretty, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Elvis Presley, Science and Technology, Technology,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BROWN BIRD | FITS OF REASON  |  March 18, 2013
    Brown Bird, a boundary-pushing Americana duo from Rhode Island, make music that touches upon that can't-put-my-finger-on-it amalgamation of past and future sounds.
  •   NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS | PUSH THE SKY AWAY  |  February 20, 2013
    Much like the similarly low-key The Boatman's Call , Cave's highly anticipated 15th album with the Bad Seeds manages the puzzling feat of making a great band seem inconsequential, if not entirely absent.
  •   SCOTT WALKER | BISH BOSCH  |  November 27, 2012
    Scott Walker's late-period about-face is one of the strangest in the annals of pop music.
    Bill Withers has always been the down-to-earth, odd-man-out of the '70s soul brothers: he's the one who came bearing a lunch box on the cover of his relaxed 1971 debut, Just as I Am .
  •   R.E.M. | DOCUMENT [25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION]  |  September 19, 2012
    Fans of R.E.M. enjoy arguing over which album was the band's true shark-jump, but 1987's Document was inarguably the end of a groundbreaking era.

 See all articles by: ZETH LUNDY