Elvis Perkins makes lullabies for adults. Why shouldn’t he? His voice has got a lilt that’s dreamy most of the time but also always tinged with just enough of Bob Dylan’s judgmental croon to lend himself a bit of menace and he’s good at stitching together lyrics that, for all of their malice, sound whimsical. Really: “You’re a much nicer person/since the hog’s heart was inserted in you” is exactly the kind of insult a kid would hurl if only they could manage the verbal gymnastics. If sometimes he introduces a few horns here and there to add a little jolt to the proceedings he can’t really be blamed; it’s easy music to nod off to if you’re not paying attention.
Hell, it’s easy music to nod off to even if you are paying attention, as I’m sure that’s exactly what the majority of the folks – young and old alike, they all seemed to possess a real fondness for Perkins’ nouveau naïf shtick – gathered at Rough Trade last night were trying to do. Despite that, though, when they started swaying it was obviously not so much in time with the music as it was with whatever circadian rhythms governed their sleep cycles. When one fan started to lean against another who in turn began to lean against another well, I couldn’t help imagining the whole audience toppling like an arrangement of dominoes. Only an elderly woman whom Perkins identified as his godmother seemed ecstatic to be there, from first act until last. All to the good, I say: she pumped some blood into the proceedings, something to match the trumpets’ flares.
//Write-up by Austin Price