Elvis Perkins: I Aubade

i aubade boldly goes where very few folk artists have gone before

Elvis (wait for it) Perkins’ i aubade is quite a captivating album. It’s a breath of fresh air for the folk music scene in a time of oversaturation and rehashing of old ideas. Elvis Perkins has created an album that is part traditional folk music, experimental, psychedelic and worldly. This record takes the classic singer-guitarist formula the folk genre has become known for, and incorporates drums, pianos, synthesizers, mellotrons, harps, flutes, violins, glockenspiels, sitars, random waveforms, ambient field recordings, and a plethora of quaint sounds I can’t quite grasp, and blends them together to create the fantastically detailed orchestration you hear on the record.

The album is constantly evolving as instruments fade in and out to paint their textures and timbres onto Perkins’ lyrics, making for a very dynamic and listening experience filled with intricate details, complex emotions, and beautiful soundscapes.

The artist has a knack for creating beautiful melodies as heard on “It’s now or never loves”, weaving together lush layers of vocal harmonies with very sweet guitar and pitched percussion. “I came for fire”, in contrast, creates strong tension using a cacophony of dissonant wall-of-noise that fights for control over Perkins’ softer tones. “AM”, aptly named, features old radio samples of disc Jockeys and brass sections cleverly arranged to accompany the modern-day band.  “Hogus Pogus” introduces Western and Eastern influences as guitars, sitars and synthesizers fuse together to create hypnotic drones. “Accidental Tourist” is a simple lullaby, solely instrumental and composed of a Spanish guitar ensemble playing sweet, romantic melodies. The impressive breadth of the album’s arrangement and production evokes a sense of grandness and ambition reminiscent of Sgt. Pepper (a significant statement indeed, but one that I stand by nonetheless), pushing the limits of what can be accomplished with the powerful tool that is the music studio.

i aubade boldly goes where very few folk artists have gone before, and I like the direction Elvis Perkins is heading.

Recommended if you like: Orval Carlos Sibelius, Pink Floyd, Alexander Tucker, Jim Croce,  The Beatles (Post-revolver), Roy Orbison, late Johnny Cash and June Carter, Tangerine Dream, 

Recommended tracks: “It’s Now for Never Loves,” “The Passage of the Black Gene,” “I Came for Fire,” and “Hogus Pogus”

Reviewd by Mason Wheatley

KJHK 90.7 FM