Elvis Perkins In Dearland – Self-Titled [Album Review]

by That Guy on March 2, 2009

elvis perkins in dearland

I adore Elvis Perkins. Ever since Oz, Woody, and I caught him play a set at SXSW in 2007 that was sandwiched between sets from Pete Townsend and the Cold War Kids (Elvis’ set was the best of the night), I’ve been hooked. And his latest effort with his backing band Dearland is absolutely incredible.

Elvis Perkins’ back story is pretty well-known, but I think knowing it adds flavor to his music. In case you missed it¦he lost his father, actor Anthony Perkins, to AIDS in 1992 and his mother, photographer Berry Berenson, when she was tragically killed on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 aboard American Airlines Flight 11.

These events seem to shape much of Elvis’ songwriting, which moves from despondence, to defiance, to hope and back again. Perkins’ debut album, Ash Wednesday, dealt with themes of life and death, and the self-titled Elvis Perkins in Dearland continues with many of those same themes. It’s filled with bright acoustic guitars, big bass drums, full-bodied upright bass, an occasional organ or trombone, and earnest, unfeigned vocals. My favorite track off the new album, Doomsday, is a bellwether for the entire album:

Now in all of my wildest dreams, it never once was seen
That doomsday would fall anywhere near a Tuesday
But a flight across the sky, see it fade before my eyes
There isn’t any sense to a goodbye and by (??)
Oh I don’t plan to die, nor should you plan to die!

Other standout tracks include Shampoo, Send My Fond Regards to Lonelyville, and I Heard Your Voice in Dresden. Producer Chris Shaw did a great job of capturing the fire and spirit of Elvis’ live show. I love this album. You can pick it up March 10.

He’ll also be playing the Auditorium Shores Stage in Austin during SXSW on March 19.

Here’s some stuff to keep you warm.

Elvis Perkins In Dearland – Shampoo

Elvis Perkins – While You Were Sleeping (Live on Letterman)

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Woody March 2, 2009 at 9:47 am

DB, bang on review. I equate this album to Iron & Wine’s last effort as he fleshed out his sound in fantastic form.

DBT Chicago March 2, 2009 at 10:13 am

already got my EP tix to schubas.
and another round of thanks for saturday. great fun.

Vanessa March 2, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Yeah–Schubas has a lot of great artists coming in March and April..though I think more in April if memory serves right.
It’s March and I haven’t hear[d]ya’s upcoming shows.

oz March 2, 2009 at 9:04 pm

I actually either forgot or never knew the family history. It definitely helps appreciate the songwriting and gives the music more depth. The album is pretty astonishing.

Mari Silva March 10, 2009 at 11:42 am

Hey guess what! WNEW is giving away tickets to see Elvis Perkins- check it out!

FREE ELVIS PERKINS TICKETS!

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