Ash Wednesday - Elvis Perkins
Ash Wednesday Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 16 Ratings

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  • Summary: The singer-songwriter's debut is informed by the losses of his father (actor Anthony Perkins) to AIDS and of his mother (photographer Berry Berenson) in the 9/11 attacks.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. 93
    There's something about this album... that takes listeners by the hand, smacks them into reality and reminds them they're still alive. [#24, p.90]
  2. Perkins' songs are neither maudlin nor exploitative--just quietly lovely. [2 Mar 2007, p.67]
  3. At its best, Ash Wednesday recalls the command of Arcade Fire's Funeral, as Perkins finds empathy through his whimsy-fueled, sad-bastard songs of experience.
  4. Most tracks stick to a downbeat, acoustic-folk template, although "May Day!" sounds like a lost Neutral Milk Hotel hoedown.
  5. Although Ash Wednesday ultimately suffers from Perkins' seeming indecision about whether to make a serioius or silly record, it is a listenable and noteworthy debut. [#16, p.94]
  6. With Ash Wednesday, Elvis Perkins has emerged as an assured, fully-formed cosmopolitan able to merge readily recognizable influences with a sense of theatre too often missing from the legion of similarly-intentioned performers.
  7. Ultimately, though, there's no transcendence for Perkins or the listener, making Ash Wednesday a tough listen with limited rewards.

See all 16 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. MattM
    Mar 2, 2007
    One of the strongest debuts in recent memory. These songs will stay with you long after the record ends.
  2. SKRII
    Mar 1, 2007
    Absolutely stunning. A rare breed among folk artists, and all types of music for that matter: emotional sincerity. You can tell while listening to this album that the artist truly means every word he sings. And the emotions are perfectly augmented by the flourishes of the quirky instruments in these arrangements. I will be listening to this music for the rest of my life, while Coldplay and Arcade Fire will have dimmed from memory. Expand
  3. JayS
    Mar 11, 2007
    Saw him opening for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah in London in Feb'07 (a month ago) and was impressed. His debut is very understated and takes a few listens, but you'll end up loving it. Very very good debut... Plus he seems like a very nice chap too! Expand
  4. vanessab
    Apr 2, 2007
    Ash Wednesday is written with lyrics that are poetic and ponderous yet limpid like the music itself. Nothing feels fake in his voice or his lyrics or his music. Its truely a classic you'll find different meanings to in different stages or moments in your life. Expand
  5. andreb
    Apr 16, 2007
    Saw him open in Montreal on Friday April 13, 2007 for Clap your hand. He blew me away. I got his cd and it is truly great. Reminds me of David Gray.
  6. JoeyS
    Apr 26, 2007
    Album of the year. A must own...