Pernice Brothers - Yours, Mine & Ours
Joe Pernice has earned himself a strong songwriting reputation across the pond, but is virtually unknown here in the UK whilst inferior musical colleagues such as Ryan Adams and David Gray lap up the mainstream sales.
For those in the know, and who would consider themselves connoisseurs of quality albums with a Beatles / Nilsson / Bread fusion combined with an alt.country sensibility, Joe’s band The Pernice Brothers have released their third album, Yours, Mine & Ours. It’s easily their best record yet. Whilst the debut album Overcome By Happiness carried on previous band The Scud Mountain Boys’ torch, and sophomore effort The World Won’t End was a sprightly anthology of summery guitar-pop, Yours, Mine & Ours is The Pernice Brothers with added edge.
The opening track, The Weakest Shade Of Blue catches a casual fan unaware with its double-tracked reverbed vocal by Joe, which conjures up images of the band playing in your local bar as opposed to being mixed through a sixty-four track, and it deftly sets the tone of the album. By the third track, One Foot In The Grave, you are lifted in such an exhilarating fashion by the lengthy Hey Jude style fade out of the chorus that you already consider yourself converted by the album. The rest of the tracks could be fillers and it simply wouldn’t matter.
Fortunately, they are not. Baby In Two is a brilliant lyrical call for an intervention of wisdom, and Blinded By The Stars soothes us with its warm chords and gorgeous melodies. The most tender and touching of the ten songs is Judy, in which Joe’s call to Ms. Garland is in full Wizard Of Oz swing. By the time Sometimes I Remember jingle-jangles onto your stereo, complete with Smiths-style fade in, you realise that Joe’s Morrissey leanings have taken hold of many of his recordings, and that alternative country has become alternative eighties almost instantly. It’s when final “ba-da-ba-da” vocals are given to Joe’s now wife Laura Stein, that the happiness of recording the album shines through each of the channels. It’s such a good closer of an album that you forget Number Two is actually the final cut off Yours, Mine & Ours.
With The Pernice Brothers, dark lyrics tiptoe through the lush harmonies and the sea of warmth from the music and manage to trek right through to your soul. Even so, sorrow is presented in an upbeat fashion, suggesting that the light will always shine at the end of the musical tunnel. It comes in at just under forty minutes, though you’ll be convinced the album runs twice that. Yours, Mine & Ours is a genre-bending masterpiece that most will savour. One listen, and you’ll be a Pernice convert for life.