11 Songs, 50 Minutes


Ratings and Reviews

4.8 out of 5
46 Ratings

46 Ratings

The Girl From Back Then ,

Don't listen just once.

Quite frankly, it’s unfair that this record has had the impact it has on me. I listen to it in the morning with a cup of coffee, on my way to class in the morning, the drive to and through the smog and work, and finally as I go to sleep. I’ve tried to vary my listening a little; you know, put in the new Shins, Beirut, that sweet whistling ditty by Peter, Bjorn and John…but I can’t get this record out of my head and now, I’m fearing for the rest of my music collection.

On Ash Wednesday, I can’t think of anything I haven’t heard before…Perkins isn’t exactly offering anything unique to singing or songwriting—but, then again, no one really asked him to. While there’s nothing necessarily new, the record still strikes you, attacking all the presumptions made against singer-songwriters and the genre. His voice’s character sneaks up on you when you least suspect it; all the little nuances are exactly what make listening to each song such a joy. Nothing is flat and if you’re looking, there’s something new to discover every time you listen. The songwriting is top notch, especially in the title track in which Perkins makes no guises as to what he’s singing about. “Sleep Sandwich” also demonstrates Perkins’ firm grasp on language (“It’s morning in heaven / L.A. is lost in the clouds / so I sing goodbye skylines / and I will sadly sing you off to our next episode”), as well as his vocal talents. Amongst the heartbreak, there’s a playful side to Ash Wednesday in songs such as “May Day !—the black sheep of the record, if I’ve ever heard one. The omnipresent presence of death throughout the album in unavoidable, some psychological and some philosophical and most dark, but despite all of that, Ash Wednesday is not a depressing album.

And, finally, I’ve been debating on whether or not to slip in this final bit, but here goes. He reminds me of Jeff Buckley. I know, I know, the mandatory Buckley reference. But it’s not so much a comparison to Jeff’s music or voice as the way both records—Grace and Ash Wednesday—make me feel when I listen to them; it’s the same appreciation and experience of listening to the records. Truthfully, it’s a mostly unexplainable reason I have that Elvis evokes Jeff to me. Both records have plenty of heartbreak and gigantic talent behind them, albeit very different sounds.

Elvis Perkins is a gift to music lovers and this debut is stunning.

SpicyLawGrrl ,

Lullabies for Philosophers

Elvis Perkins writes melodies for cynical dreamers and emo kids who read Proust. A quirky, eloquent troubadour with one foot in comedy and the other in tragedy. His bearded bordello-style Dearland includes a stand-up bass player, a drummer who strides about the room with a marching band bass drum strapped to his belly and a keyboardist who blows trombone and twiddles some sort of Victorian bellows instrument. Elvis' history may be filled with personal loss, but his songs are brimming with hope, poetry and curiosity.

This is an album that you want to keep on repeat.

seattle-dane ,

Original Sound

Although Perkins sings of strangling rainbows, he is clearly in the business of adding beauty to the world in the form of his music. Listen to 'While You Were Sleeping', and realize quickly that this is a mature voice making original music of the highest quality. Amazing debut.

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