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Pernice Brothers | The World Won't End (Southpaw/Ashmont)
It is inevitable that there are readers that have yet to be exposed to the genius of Joe Pernice, and so to the ever-growing numbers that already have, and learned what to expect of the great man, please indulge me while I explain all to the virgins. If you find yourself generally guided by inkies and glossies, and are of a pure pop disposition, it's a safe bet that you recognise one Elliott Smith as the planet's greatest living songwriter. You wouldn't be far wrong, but I must point out that Smith's gold medal podium is shared by Joe Pernice ?? of that fact, there can be no dispute. In a shade over five years, the prolific Pernice has already amassed an awesome back catalogue of sparkling and deeply affecting, simple pop music of remarkable consistency. Notice the word simple. Like all great pop writers, Pernice recognises simplicity and directness as the way it should be. So running through his work as Scud Mountain Boys (not as alt. Country as the name may suggest), Big Tobacco and the stripped down solo project, Chappaquiddick Skyline, are straight-to-the-point tunes and intelligent lyrics, most often concerning matters of the heart. The Pernice Brothers is his purest pop vision, where his vaguely familiar Fannies-esque melodies are reinforced by lush strings, as guitars joyfully jangle around his soft, breathy voice. Following on from '98's exquisite Overcome By Happiness album, this second Brothers offering picks up exactly where that left off. It is a parade of pop for all seasons that is downbeat and euphoric at once, and again, the contents beggar belief that no one had managed to dream them up before. The bulk of the lyrical matter appears a post-mortem of love gone skeewiff, aimed it seems at one object of obsessive affection ?? the one whose name Pernice can barely cope to hear of, or even speak. As with all of his work, there are bona-fide classics present, particularly in the impossibly gorgeous Our Time Has Passed and Shaken Baby, but it's all very, very lovely, and delivered by Joe, brother Bob and associates with effortless aplomb. If you're already of a Pernice bent, you'll snap this slaveringly up and continue to wonder how anyone can so consistently pen such summery melancholia. If you are one of those that he has eluded, you will wonder how you have ever lived without him.

Tom Sheriff
CWAS #8 - Summer 2001

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