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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."
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  Topics: CD Reviews , Elvis Perkins, XL, Audio and Video Devices,  More more >
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