Roky Erickson with Okkervil River - True Love Cast Out All Evil
The Thirteenth Floor Elevators are unquestionably one of the best bands of the sixties (or any other era). Their psychedelic garage punk stylings have been much imitated (yet rarely bettered) and still sound as powerful as they did all those years ago. After the band imploded, main man Roky Erickson lived the true ‘Tortured Artist’ lifestyle, electro-shock therapy, imprisonment, mental illness and the occasional comeback attempt. Now we have True Love Cast Out All Evil, his first new album in 14 years and, somewhat surprisingly, it is his best work since the heady days of the 1960s.
This collection of songs, mostly drawn from unreleased material written throughout Erickson’s harrowing life, have been given the lease of life they deserve by the fantastic backing and arrangements of Texas rockers Okkervil River. From the scratchy Sparklehorse-like opening of ‘Devotional Number One’ to the garage rock driven ‘John Lawman’ and the downbeat Americana of the title track, this is an album that keeps you in its thrall right through to the closing bars of stripped backed closer ‘God Is Everywhere’.
It could be argued that this nothing more than an Okkervil River album with the addition of a guest vocalist but that would be do it a massive disservice. Yes, the construction of the album appears to be all theirs but without the distinctive voice and, more importantly, the songs and astonishing life experiences of Roky Erickson this is as album that simply would not exist. In this era of commercial, money-driven comebacks, it is an absolute joy to listen to an album that has been made for the best of reasons, the simple love of music.