Elvis Perkins has an incredibly sad backstory. His famous actor father, Anthony, died of AIDS-related pneumonia when Elvis was a teenager, and his mother perished aboard one of the fateful 9/11 flights. These tragedies informed much of Elvis's solemn 2007 debut, Ash Wednesday, making Elvis Perkins In Dearland feel quite sunny by comparison.
Not that it's all roses and blue skies on the New York-based singer's follow-up. I'll Be Arriving is a chain-gang Tom Waits homage with a heavy, funereal feel, while Doomsday and Send My Fond Regards To Lonelyville live up to their names. But 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.
Top track: Shampoo
Elvis Perkins plays the Horseshoe Wednesday (April 29).