What’s going on upstairs, buddy?

Pick up Roky Erickson’s <i>True Love Cast Out All Evil</i> at <a href=www.anti.com.">

Pick up Roky Erickson’s True Love Cast Out All Evil at www.anti.com.

I’ve tried to understand the fascination with Roky Erickson ever since his first comeback in the late 1970s, but maybe I just don’t get it. Clearly mental illness and reclusiveness have added to this psychedelic pioneer’s mystique. And what the hell: He’s got plenty of material to cover (even when he only speaks with his demons).

The backing band, alternative outfit Okkervil River of Austin, Texas, weaves its way through a dozen Erickson songs, while the gravelly voiced 13th Floor Elevators frontman takes full advantage of his painfully unique vocal talents, narrating a lifetime of music.

Much of True Love Cast Out All Evil sounds remotely familiar if you’ve heard Erickson before, but always there’s a phrase or image that seems so far off kilter, you have to wonder what’s going on inside this guy’s head.