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on August 2, 2007
We had to wait some time for his debut album that took seven years to perfect, but perfect it he did.
The tragic family history - father was "Psycho" actor Anthony Perkins, who died of an Aids-related illness in 1992, while his mother died almost a decade later in the 2001 World Trade Center attacks - drapes itself over the songs without sounding too melancholy.
"While You Were Sleeping" is lullaby loveliness and during "Emile's Vietnam In The Sky" he insists "take better care of your heart".
This is the album to do just that and if you don't adore it, you didn't have a heart to start with.
Perkins is unwillling to admit his debut album is informed by some tragic pivate pivotal events. 'I don't want anyone to think that the songs are autobiographical,' he told an American journalist in March. This, unquestionably, is disingenuous: quite apart from the title itself - 9/11 was a Tuesday - "Ash Wednesday" is awash with references to loss, whether it's the anguished howl of the title track ('No one will survive Ash Wednesday alive/ No soldier, no lover, no sister, no brother') or the self-explanatory "It's a Sad World After All". "Stay if you want/ There is enough sadness for the both of us", sings Perkins, the soul of a blues crooner circa 1930 encased within the torso of a 31-year-old.
It would be perverse to avoid mention of Elvis Perkins's biography, however much the singer/songwriter might protest that it hasn't directly informed thisalbum.
"Ash Wednesday" is forged from a bleak, brittle desolation that can sometimes make these drowsily atmospheric folky songs feel top-heavy.
Still, this unashamed melancholia reaps great rewards on tracks such as "Moon Woman II" and "Emile's Vietnam In The Sky", while unexpected flavours such as the bongos, percussion and fiddles on "All The Night Without Love" and the lovely liquid chords of "The Night And The Liquor" leaven an atmosphere that can verge a bit on the oppressive.
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