Elison Jackson Hones Garage-Folk Sound on ‘Dead Man’

New Haven band Elison Jackson approaches its fourth birthday this year having carved out a noteworthy spot on the Connecticut music scene. Each of the garage-folk band’s successive releases has garnered more praise than the last, and for good reason: singer/guitarist Sam Perduta and Co. just keep getting better. Their most recent LP, last fall’s “Do Not Fear to Kill a Dead Man” (Telegraph Recording Company), is an assured nine-song collection of rootsy rock songs that show traces of their influences — the eerie singing saw on the mournful opener, “Tongue on Fire,” immediately calls to mind Neutral Milk Hotel, for example — without the band sounding beholden to any of them.

The songs are dense constructions, packed full of instruments: guitar and bright stabs of piano take the lead on “No Tomorrow,” while dreamy layers of keyboards fill up the title track. Even the busiest songs leave room for Perduta’s vocal melodies: his voice wends its way through a thicket of guitars and a vintage organ sound on “Biddeford,” and he wouldn’t sound out of place on a Bright Eyes record as he sings through a swirl of pell-mell guitars and keyboards on “Sounds From the Hall Redux.” Not every tune is piled so high: “Dreams of Home” is comparatively minimal as Perduta’s voice floats through a haze of reverb and distant, garage-y guitars.

With two solid full-length albums and a handful of EPs and singles now to their credit, Elison Jackson has established itself as one of Connecticut’s most consistently interesting young bands. The question now is what comes next. There’s a whole wide world out there, after all, and if they’re willing (or able) to work for it, there’s no reason the group’s talents wouldn’t translate on the road, too.


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