Elvis Perkins set the bar impossibly high in 2007 with the release of his near-perfect debut album “Ash Wednesday.” Perkins poured every bit of personal pain (his father, actor Anthony Perkins, died of complications from AIDS in 1992 and his mother was aboard one of the jetliners that slammed into the World Trade Center on 9/11) into the hauntingly beautiful 11-track release.
Two years later, “Elvis Perkins in Dearland” proved the first album was no fluke and, while a notch below its remarkable predecessor, had me convinced that big things were in store for Perkins & Co. Yet it’s been almost six years since we’ve heard from Perkins — an eternity in the music business — and all that career momentum has, sadly, faded away.
Latest album “I Aubade” is a departure from the first two platters in that Perkins has taken a DIY approach to the good-but-not-great 13-track release. “I had the impulse to hear what would happen if left to and with my own devices,” he explains. “Not surprisingly this is the thing that sounds the most, to me, like myself.”
It’s a lower key collection of tunes, no question, and though there are moments that flirt with greatness — “I Came for Fire,” “It’s Now or Never Loves,” “The Passage of the Black Gene,” “Gasolina,” “My 2$” — “I Aubade” lacks the consistency that made the previous records so terrific. Here’s hoping we won’t have to wait so long for album No. 4. (Jeffrey Sisk)