Last September, when I first saw Elvis Perkins’ live, his lyrical maturity, simple but finely-crafted acoustic melodies and compelling stage presence immediately impressed me. Unlike many folky singer/songwriters who churn out great studio albums but fail to bring the goods live, Elvis transcended the delicate and frail sound of his album, turning the soft-sounding cuts from Ash Wednesday into a rollicking kinetic celebration. Opening up for Dr. Dog and The Cold War Kids, the then-unsigned Perkins delivered the best set of the night and it was clear to anyone in the audience that he was bound for great things.

Flash forward five months later and Perkins’ debut, Ash Wednesday, has finally received an official release on XL Recordings. I’ve had the record in my collection since September but it was only when I actually sat down to write the Stylus review when I realized how truly outstanding it actually is. An elegy of sorts for his deceased parents (the actor, Anthony Perkins, who died of AIDS in 1992) and his mother, the photographer Berry Berenson (who died in one of the planes that hit the WTC on 9/11), Ash Wednesday is sometimes heart-breaking, sometimes uplifting and at all-times brilliant. It has a level of depth, intelligence and gravity that few records made today possess. I highly recommend it.

Read My Stylus Review Here

Buy Ash Wednesday Here

Download:
MP3: Elvis Perkins-“While You Were Sleeping”
MP3: Elvis Perkins-“Emile’s Vietnam in the Sky”

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