Roky Erickson & Okkervil River – True Love Cast Out All Evil (2010): Review

One of the most annoying tendencies our trusted music press are all susceptible to is a rose tinted over sentimentality to artists who have returned to record following difficult times. Of course we all appreciate that Roky Erickson’s life has been marred by drug misuse, mental disease and incarceration in various facilities since his rise to fame as an original member of the seminal 60s psychedelic group The 13th Floor Elevators. Indeed, it’s highly unlikely that the troubled legend could have recorded this album without the collaborating forces of Will Sheff and his band Okkervil River.

The fact is, that for all the press excitement and overwhelming positivity for Erickson’s return, “True Love Cast Out All Evil” is a very ordinary folk/country recording that’s largely flawed by Sheff’s over enthusiastic production and arranging effort. Washing over Erickson’s tired, dulcet tones with banks of carefully measured instrumentation dilutes the whole experience to nothing more than an unchallenging air of gentle musical respectability. There’s little bite, the singer’s tortured experiences reduced to anaesthetised horn and string washouts that will never remind the listener of his ability as a one time experimental pioneer in rock music.

Save your inquisition. Buy “The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators”. It will live long beyond Roky, Sheff and this plodding non-entity of an album.

5/10

1 Devotional Number One 2:17
2 Ain’t Blues Too Sad 1:15
3 Goodbye Sweet Dreams 4:34
4 Be and Bring Me Home 5:36
5 Bring Back the Past 2:02
6 Please, Judge 4:26
7 John Lawman 3:56
8 True Love Cast Out All Evil 4:30
9 Forever 3:58
10 Think of as One 5:21
11 Birds’d Crash 3:59
12 God Is Everywhere 2:41

True Love Cast Out All Evil

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2 responses to “Roky Erickson & Okkervil River – True Love Cast Out All Evil (2010): Review

  1. That’s a bit harsh. Goodbye Sweet Dreams gives me chills, and I love the production. Some of the songs are just little ditties that have appeared in other forms on other albums and bootlegs. For Roky fans it’s essential, but his songs from Psychedelic Sounds and The Evil One were obviously much better.

    • Thanks for the comment. I’m going to re-visit the album as this was a repost I originally wrote for a magazine a few years ago.. I mainly remember Sheff’s easy listening MOR production effort which I think watered down Roky’s simple, gritty delivery. I’ll have another listen over the weekend. Time is a great leveller and sometimes records sound better when the weight of expectation has been lifted.

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