True Love Cast Out All Evil
Roky Erickson’s mid-1960s singles with the 13th Floor Elevators—and even his mid-’70s solo singles—are garage-rock classics, not so much for the writing as for the amazing vocals. He was one of those rare rock ’n’ roll singers who could be melodic even as he was wildly yelping. But after 45 years of hard living, that voice is gone. What remains is the legend—and the legend has its own power, as True Love Cast Out All Evil proves. Erickson’s vocal instrument may be a dry husk of its former self, but his commitment is undiminished. When he cries out, “I’m going fast, stay with me,” on “Birds’d Crash,” some notes may crack but his determination to get past it are right there in his voice. And when he sings, “I once had a heart and could not be told, but now those dreams have grown so cold” (“Goodbye Sweet Dreams”), Okkervil River’s thrumming momentum pushes him into a consideration of the damage done.