Elvis Perkins in Dearland

Singer-Songwriters
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Editorial Review

Dan Miller reviewed Elvis Perkins in Nov. 2009:

Plenty of modern lyricists can try to coast on mushy, passable songwriting by attaching it to a catchy melody. But Elvis Perkins is one of those rare songwriters whose words possess the sophistication to hold up in song and on paper.

The lyrical content on his second album, "Elvis Perkins in Dearland," varies wildly in mood and tone but consistently shows off his literary sensibility. From the love-struck giddiness of "Hey" to the wistful ruminations of "How's Forever Been Baby," Perkins demonstrates a knack for creating emotionally resonant imagery.

On the standout opening track, "Shampoo," Perkins shouts his anguish: "Yellow is the color of my true love's crossbow/Yellow is the color of the sun/And black is the color of/A strangled rainbow/Just the color of my loss."

The music comes off as authentic and distinctly American. His ballads are delicate and romantic (the haunting "Hours Last Stand") while his more upbeat songs ("Hey," "Doomsday") stomp along like he's in command of a drunken marching band.

One of the album's biggest curiosities is "I'll Be Arriving," a nightmarish track featuring an ominous organ and clattering chains. The song feels like a funeral procession deep in the heart of Dixie. This song is an anomaly, though, as the rest of the record succeeds based on Perkins's carefully crafted songs and thoughtful lyrics.