Under Review

Pernice Brothers

Live a Little

Ashmont Records

Review By BRock Thiessen


Joe Pernice has decided to put a little music to his writing again with his band Pernice Brothers. And thankfully, his 45-second stint on Gilmore Girls doesn’t seem to have gone to his head.

As always, his teary melodies and Elvis Costello-like delivery make for some rather efficient power-pop on the new album, Live a Little. Here, Pernice and co. revisit some old friends and sounds, while at the same time stretching out their artistic feelers.

As for the old, producer Michael Deming is back behind the boards. He recorded Pernice’s previous band, the Scud Mountain Boys, and the first Pernice Brothers record, Overcome by Happiness. Also returned are the strings and horns that accompanied the debut record, making an effective comeback on this latest release. On tracks like the Curtis Mayfield-tinged “Zero Refills” and horn-squelching “Microscopic View”, this instrumentation is a perfect fit for Pernice’s poignant yet funny lyrics. And to top off the old, the Pernice Brothers have re-recorded “Grudge Fuck”, which was originally done with the Scud Mountain Boys.

As for the new, Live a Little is more of a rock record than previous albums. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll break out the devil horns, but foot-tapping and head-bopping are often appropriate. This is especially noticeable in the album’s early tracks like “Automaton” and “Somerville”. The lyrics also feel a bit more rock ‘n’ roll this time out, such as on the stunning closer “High as a Kite”, which rhymes summer with Joe Strummer.

Package this all up and you have yourself a great little album.