The Pernice Brothers
Yours, Mine & Ours
The music of Joe Pernice has been described as “melancholy pop.” But that doesn’t quite hit the mark. Pernice is too actively cynical and strange to be looked upon as merely emotional. From the early days as the Scud Mountain Boys, to the one-off Chappaquiddick Skyline, and the continuing efforts of the Pernice Brothers, he has depicted love, loss and the realties of life in a manner that appears calm and restrained on the surface, but that upon further listening illuminates a far darker manner. Overcome By Happiness, the Pernice Brothers masterpiece from a few years ago, was anything but happy, and Yours, Mine & Ours continues in this vein, with Pernice’s penchant for odd wordplay and withering emotional comments firmly intact. This time around the music is fuller, exhibiting a nod toward the Summerteeth-era Wilco, although with much more pleasing results. In fact, the record sounds like a throwback to the ’80s mope rock of The Smiths and such, without (thankfully) the whining of Morrissey. Joe Pernice sings in a resigned whisper of a voice, but his words are strong — if a bit surreal. “I’m as lonely as the Irish Sea and as willing as the sand” (“The Weakest Shade of Blue”) undoubtedly means something to him, but each listener will absorb and relate to it differently, which, in the end, is a hallmark of great art.