“I heard a sound when I was a child,” Elvis Perkins sings in “It’s Only Me,” a typically introspective folk-pop number from this debut album. Perkins probably heard lots of sounds as a child: his dad was Anthony Perkins (perhaps best known as Norman Bates in Psycho) and his mom was the fashion photographer Berry Berenson. (His brother Oz, who drums on Ash Wednesday, is also in show biz; he played Reese Witherspoon’s dorky law-school peer in Legally Blonde.) Yet Ash Wednesday is far from a celebration of the Hollywood high life — it documents the periods shortly preceding and following Berenson’s death on September 11, 2001, when she was on board American Airlines Flight 11 out of Logan. “It’s a Sad World After All” is the title of one cut here and a description of them all. If you’re not in the mood for it, Perkins’s uncut melancholy can be a lot to swallow. Still, this is one of the prettiest bummers around.
Elvis Perkins + Patrick Watson | Great Scott, 1222 Comm Ave, Allston | February 27 | 617.566.9014