Pernice Brothers, Yours, Mine & Ours
The cover of the Pernice Brothers’ Yours, Mine & Ours depicts fireworks exploding in a night sky. It is as apt a visual metaphor for the Bros.’ music as one could imagine – bright, quick, and intangible. If it weren’t so lightweight, one might even describe their music as “power pop.” Mostly, they recall thin 80s pop – the Smiths, the Cure, the Church and even modern day Brits like Belle and Sebastian and Travis.
The British comparison is due in large part to Joe Pernice’s voice that, like Guided By Voices’ Robert Pollard, carries a faint English accent. Nevertheless, Pernice’s voice, though thin, is strong and versatile. The songs, with their spare arrangements, often rely on the voice to keep them afloat.
The opener – “The Weakest Shade of Blue” – craftily fuses Beatlesesque pop with a fragile post-modern sound. It’s the third track, One Foot In The Grave, which first shows some teeth. A fuzzy, pounding bass drives the song through Pernice’s melancholic lyrics and clean, ringing guitars. Strongly carried by acoustic guitars (like most of the record), Waiting for the Universe shows off the Pernice Brothers’ clever arrangements and instrumentation – chosen carefully to strengthen the song. Though there may be several guitars going at once, they do not pile the chords on top of each other. The record is incredibly spacious.
Above all, it is the album’s dogged tunefulness that turns each track into 3 minutes of overlapping melodic bliss. Despite often dour lyrics, the songs are bright. Heavily-reverbed electric guitars glide around the acoustic guitars and the voice while drums and bass pound forward. If you needed a soundtrack to a humid summer night spent watching fireworks explode, you could do worse.
[This piece originally appeared in the Rage.]