Our own Thirteenth Floor Elevators' Roky Erickson will return with his first album of original material in fourteen years, recorded with Austin indie-rockers Okkervil River. Roky has previously performed with Okkervil River in 2008 at the Austin Music Awards and the following year at SXSW Festival.
True Love Cast Out All Evil includes material written throughout Erickson's life and "found sounds" from the Rusk State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, where he spent several years in the early 1970s. While at Rusk, Roky was subjected to Thorazine, electroshock therapy, and other “experimental treatments.” The effects of his stay would alter his life.
Okkervil River's Will Sheff, who produced the album, said in a released statement, "This is not a cynical comeback record, a lukewarm update on an established legacy – these are the best songs Roky has ever written. This record has been the most challenging and rewarding thing I've ever worked on, and we in Okkervil River were deeply honored to show up decades later and help Roky carry these wonderful songs over the finish line."
True Love Cast Out All Evil culled tracks from sixty unreleased Erickson songs which Sheff remarks are, “unreleased due to decades plagued by the kind of personal tragedies that would destroy someone less resilient.”
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.
“There were songs written during business setbacks including the Elevators' painful break-up, songs written by Roky while he was incarcerated at Rusk, and a great deal of songs that reminded me of the sense of optimism and romanticism that I think sustained Roky through his worst years and ultimately reunited him, a few years ago, with his son Jegar and his first wife Dana. The quality of the material we ended up with was exhilarating," said Sheff.
Though his music has been incessantly bootlegged and appeared in several anthologies over the last decades, Erickson has not released new material since 1995's All That May Do My Rhyme, and it is over forty years since the Texas songwriter's most celebrated work, with psychedelic rockers 13th Floor Elevators.
Over the four decades that followed, Roky has gained legendary status, bolstered (and weighed down) by his reputation as an "outsider" artist. He has been saluted by acts including REM, Primal Scream, the Jesus and Mary Chain, ZZ Top and even Kasabian.
Roky has been enjoying an amazing comeback these last years touring America and Europe. This album of new material is eagerly awaited by the fans. True Love Cast Out All Evil will be released by Anti on 20 April.