Pernice Brothers – Yours, Mine and Ours

Posted on 24 February 2014 by Dorian

By the time Joe Pernice’s band of brothers got round to releasing this, their third album, the music community had started to lose interested. Originally mainly promoted by the alt-country press they had made it pretty plain that they weren’t going to sound like his previous band The Scud Mountain Boys. They weren’t even going to have the big string sections that had received such plaudits on their previous outings, I  still remember the dissapointed expression on the face of the person who sold me the CD.

yours mine ours

In fact this album is clearly in just as much thrall to UK 80s indie bands as it is with Teenage Fanclub, country music or any of their other previous influences. Brilliantly written by Joe Pernice, with some career best guitar work by Peyton Pinkerton (more on him later) this may well be the best album the band produced. More than that it might be one of the best guitar pop albums of the 2000s.

The album opens with the fuzzy guitar pop blast of ‘Weakest Shade of Blue’, a proper “should have been a top ten hit” contender, complete with joyous vocal harmonies and sparkling guitar melody. From there on in it is a blast of songs of such consistent quality that the relative obscurity of the band is mystifying on listening today.

The beauty of Pernice’s work is the mismatch of music and lyrics, tonally at least. A generally upbeat sound is a deliberate disguise for the predominantly downbeat lyrics here. That isn’t to say that this is a sad listen, Pernice is too sophisticated a songwriter for that, and he is possessed of enough wit and warmth to carry the sadness.

New Order are an obvious influence on a couple of places on this album, most notably on, arguably the best track here, ‘Sometimes I Remember’. Peyton Pinkerton is a brilliant guitarist, from his early work with New Radiant Storm King through the Pernice Brothers up to his debut solo album he released last year, his playing has been some of the best on record. His work on ‘Sometimes I Remember’ is just perfect, managing to bridge the gap between 21st century American pop music and the Factory Records circa 1983. Almost as good is ‘Number Two’ where the subdued vocals and piano is punctuated with some pretty fierce fret work.

All in all this is one of those records that you can come back to again  and again and it will sound as fresh and as timeless as the first time you played it. The best slice of 1980s UK indie influenced 21st century Americana you’ve never heard, Probably.

By Dorian Rogers

This review was inspired when I revisited Joe Pernice’s back catalogue after seeing The New Mendicants and listening to their debut album. I’d recommend pretty much anything he has recorded, with great songs across his career. Listen to a Spotify playlist of some of his best tracks here.

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