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An underlooked pop-rock great from 2003.

Pernice Brothers, Yours Mine & Ours

The beginning of January can be a tenuous time for those of us who habitually follow pop culture. With the previous year already neatly stamped and cataloged – and the pickings for new releases spare – it’s a period when many of us work to catch up on stuff we missed, usually by perusing the best-of lists of other pop junkies. It’s a bittersweet practice for many of us. While it’s always a joy to come upon unfamiliar pop that speaks to you, there’s also a sense of “Why didn’t I discover this for myself?” tingeing it.
So it was for me with Yours, Mine & Ours (Ashmont Records), the 2003 disc by New England’s Pernice Brothers, a release I was alerted to via Thomas Bartlett’s year end summary piece on Salon (you may need to sit thru an ad to read this – so enter at yer own risk!) I was unfamiliar with these guys, and if you’d asked me to categorize their sound based on name alone, I’d have guessed they were one of those bluegrass groups beloved by cultish country aficionados and nobody else. I’d have totally missed the mark.
Turns out the bros. (singer/songwriter Joe and brother Bob) are power poppers: guitar-friendly melders of the Beach Boys and Smiths, capable of matching either at their melodic peak. YM&O is the group’s third outing: don’t know if the early entries sound anything like this, but after playing this ‘un feverishly for days, I intend to find out. Simply put, it’s a gorgeous pop-rock album: harmonic and musically uplifting, even as the lyrics often plunge into depresso-ville. (Pernice’s idea of being reassuring to his lover is to imagine himself as King Solomon and telling her to “Cut the baby in two.”) We need good moving melancholy pop like this: it’s everything that Brian Wilson’s Imagination tried to be and heartbreakingly fell short of achieving; it’s how you imagined the Smiths sounded when you first read about ’em – until you actually heard Morrissey’s one-note gloombox voice.
And in this case, at least, the bittersweet sense of picking up another pop-nerd’s leavings only adds to the experience. The perfect pop experience for an ultra-chilly January. . .

About Bill Sherman

Bill Sherman is a Books editor for Blogcritics. With his lovely wife Rebecca Fox, he has co-authored a light-hearted fat acceptance romance entitled Measure By Measure.

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