Glimmering blue giver of life, seductive swallower of souls, your precarious curves shroud the interminable abyss while separating and connecting the world. The sea is a dichotomous beauty.
Named after front man Sam Perduta’s late grandfather and New England fisherman, Connecticut-based band Elison Jackson appears to also draw their bounty from the depths. With a type of melodramatic indie-folk, their sound evokes a haunting comfort where an eerily emotive essence shakes hands with the sweet and savory memories of past lives. Casting the strange phenomena when someone else’s music has you longing and aching for something highly personal. Like the sea, there’s some terribly intriguing, mysteriously enthralling, potentially threatening, deep immensity beneath Elison Jackson’s work.
Theatrical-story-telling-poet, founder, multi-instrumentalist, and conceptual essence, Sam Perduta remains the driving force behind the band’s elegiac nature. When voice becomes instrument, and song becomes feeling, singer becomes a dangerously salient point in poignant music. With one of the more interesting and striking voices in music today, one word from Perduta can have you crippled upon your knees, weeping and bleeding across the floorboards, calmly fading, severely thriving, fiercely rejoicing, feeling like God and grit, all in the same serene flash; all in the same song.
Despite never having played a single gig (other than 1 Perduta open mic solo under the moniker Elison Jackson & The Bohemians), or recording anything but shitty bedroom demos, 2009/2010 saw the release of Elison Jackson’s monumental and rather mature, albeit raw, eponymous debut LP. It was a mere exercise in perfection steeped in church basement residue and spine-chilling goodness.
The follow up full-length Spectral Evidence, although significantly more developed, was indeed tracked in a church organ loft and a basement. (Elison’s music always seems to feel tied to that which dwells in the halls that lie beneath the ground.) Rather fittingly, most of the songs were written about a house Perduta lived in during college that he thought to be haunted… Organ, piano, harmonica, banjo, singing saw, cello, accordion, trumpet, guitars, and drums dressed themselves around the established Elison sound, proving the outfit to be more than a fluke or one album pony while further asserting Perduta as an astonishing singer and song-writing talent.
Whether abandoning her crimson lipstick to the piano keys in the belly of the smokey night club to chase after Tom Waits through the dimly lit backdoor alleyway whispering with yesterday’s heartaches reborn, or ripping beneath the trees on a fervent jaunt beside the wolf himself while the butter squash moon sets upon a silver platter pool high up in the mountains — the swirling imagery behind Elison Jackson’s music is sewn together with perfect timing and gorgeous arrangements.
In 2012, the EP I Do Believe She Flew Out the Drainpipe witnessed a waxing inclination toward a more diversified and electric approach to the Elison sound. Neil Young-esque electric guitar jams, mellotron, and a bit more organ-drenched, psych-tinged rock n’ roll found residence among the usual Perduta brilliance.
As 2013 rounded the corner of midsummer ripeness, a new LP found its way to wax this October. Do Not Fear To Kill A Dead Man continues trending toward broader production, including the use of more instruments for an expanded sound, while still retaining the air of possessing some inherent knowledge surrounding what moves, squirms, and pulsates behind the wall, beneath the floorboards, below the sea. Elison Jackson’s music is somehow tied to that which dwells in the halls that lie beneath the ground. Like all of its predecessors, the new record fumes with inexplicable soundtrack quality. (Some film out there is just begging for an Elison Jackson accompaniment!) And while, for now, the band has left the lofts and basements behind, they’ve not strayed too far from the source – Do Not Fear To Kill A Dead Man was recorded in a studio, that’s in a basement.