Elvis Perkins In Dearland


Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. is still the same Perkins who turned misery into moving music several years ago, but he's learned to dress up those sentiments in engaging Americana attire, a move that softens the blow but rarely cheapens the art.
  2. Elvis Perkins in Dearland is an amusement park ride. It is more than a fan would expect from a sophomore effort, and likely to wind up on many a critic’s “top ten” list.
  3. Decent as these tracks are, the rest of the album never quite lives up to 'Shampoo's' potential.
  4. Uncut
    The result, inevitably, feels much more like a live band at work. [May 2009, p.95]
  5. Q Magazine
    Elvis Perkins in Dearland is more than good enough. [May 2009, p.117]
  6. Mojo
    When the quality is this high, Perkins can sing the pain away for as long as he needs. [May 2009, p.101]
  7. Perkins hasn't entirely moved on, but now there's a proper band behind him, and there's celebration in the music--strings, New Orleans horns and distorted blues rock.
  8. Tackling weighty themes and wrestling difficult truths with aplomb, it ultimately emerges triumphant.
  9. Perkins clearly has stories to tell of difficult journeys travelled, but unfortunately it comes across as yet another Yank putting out the roadside campfire with dribble from his harmonica.
  10. There are bound to be some people that just don't get it. For those that do, you are looking at a sure contender for your album of the year.
  11. 70
    A ponderous chain-gang stomp and some misty lyrics outline his limitations, but once again, Perkins' loss is our gain.
  12. Here, he dresses his music in full regalia--with whistles, horns, organs and marching-band drums--and it’s exquisite.
  13. The intricate vocal arrangements and alluring harmonica parts of opener 'Shampoo' grab the listener with bright potential, while 'Hey' is a lovely upbeat duet with Lavender Diamond’s Becky Stark.
  14. Much like his 2007 debut, "Ash Wednesday," Perkins speaks through characters and, more importantly, though his musical arrangements to present a nuanced approach to musing on mortality and loss and loneliness.
  15. Perkins has proven himself to be a versatile, surprising and compelling songwriter. On Elvis Perkins In Dearland, he walks the thin line between charming entertainer and confessional songwriter beautifully.
  16. 70
    Perkins freewheels through American music traditions—Haight-Ashbury folk ('Hey'), New Orleans brass ('Doomsday'), junkyard blues ('I’ll Be Arriving')--with arrangements as rich as a pawn-shop display.
  17. Perkins' funereal, imagistic pull still haunts the album, but bolstered into the Elvis Perkins in Dearland fourpiece, the eponymous LP lopes with a processional gait.
  18. Filter
    Perkins is joined by a three-piece ensemble of multi-instrumentalists that do a great deal to boost his soulful ballads with circus-like arrangements, while putting a little extra pep in his step. [Winter 2009, p.96]
  19. It’ll play huge at the Troubadour. It’s just that, as much orchestration clearly went into this record, it seems content to be merely “well done,” when the opening two tracks make it absolutely, exhilaratingly clear that there’s more than that at stake here.
  20. 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.
  21. Comprising organ, piano, upright bass and acoustic guitars, as well as the occasional fiddle or burst of New Orleans brass, the music wheezes and strolls with old-timey authenticity.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 12 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Nov 24, 2012
    This is one of those rare albums that can change your life. I have had this album for over three years and every time I listen to it I findThis is one of those rare albums that can change your life. I have had this album for over three years and every time I listen to it I find something new. It is the only album I own that never gets old. Some have called it pretentious. I find it very poetic. The below lyric from the song Shampoo is something you would read in the best contemporary poetry of our time. Combine that with some of the most infectious music imaginable and you start to understand the power of this album:

    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
    that's the color of my loss.

    I am only sorry that Perkins has virtually disappeared from touring and music and I hope that he returns with more.
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