Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Roky Erickson with Okkervil River

Add Date: April 13

Artist: Roky Erickson with Okkervil River

Album: True Love Cast Out All Evil

Label: ANTI-

Genre: Alt-country, folk rock

Comments: From ANTI- (Neko Case, Dr. Dog, Os Mutantes, Tom Waits): "Legendary musician Roky Erickson triumphantly returns with True Love Cast Out All Evil, his first new album in 14 years, produced by Will Sheff from Okkervil River, and featuring Will and Okkervil as Erickson's backing band. True Love Cast Out All Evil is comprised largely of unreleased songs that Austin native Erickson wrote throughout his decades-long career--detailing with heartbreaking candor a harrowing life that has included shock treatment, imprisonment, mental illness, and irreversible loss. With a wisdom that can only be marshaled by someone who has been through all of this, Erickson also interjects the songs with love, hope, and spiritual grace.

"While True Love Cast Out All Evil echoes the many musical styles in which Erickson has been a participant or a pioneer--including garage-rock, lo-fi psych, heavy metal, and country-tinged Texas folk--it also moves Erickson into new territory, foregrounding his songwriting skill. In these songs, Erickson addresses his troubled history in his own words, eschewing the metaphors of earlier songs like 'I Walked with a Zombie' to speak directly about hardship and the lessons learned from it. Will Sheff's production highlights the songs while interweaving them with found-sound and archival recordings culled from Erickson's home videos and recordings made in the Rusk State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.

"This is not a cynical comeback record, a lukewarm update on an established legacy--these are the best songs Roky has ever written, unreleased due to decades of personal problems."

I wanted to write my own review of this record, but as I can't top that one, I'll simply expound on it. This is one of the best and most significant releases of 2010; it's amazing to think that someone who has had such a tough life could still make art this beautiful and moving. It's also not what I would have expected from the "founding father of psychedelic rock;" True Love Cast Out All Evil is definitely a Texas country-rock record--thus the sensible and excellent decision to enlist the help of Sheff and Okkervil River.

Check out "Goodbye Sweet Dreams," "Bring Back the Past," "Be and Bring Me Home" and the title track.

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