Elvis Perkins in Dearland, 'Elvis Perkins in Dearland' (XL)

Critical Mass
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by David Marchese

Elvis Perkins' father -- actor Anthony -- died of AIDS; his mother perished in the 9/11 attacks. So forgive him for still sorting things out on Dearland, his second album of death-obsessed folk rock. He's no moper, though. With warm, conversational vocals floating over a more ornate, less urban version of Dylan's mid-'60s sound, Perkins' wary resolve ("I don't want to die / However dark tomorrow may be") and shaky will ("I can't hold my life") end up hopeful rather than despairing. A ponderous chain-gang stomp and some misty lyrics outline his limitations, but once again, Perkins' loss is our gain.

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