A bounty of timeless pop to choose from...
A prolific chap, is Joe Pernice. Joe releases records like they’ve going out of fashion, and taking current zeitgeists into consideration, Joe’s records are out of fashion, out of the loop, so to speak. Of course, as most of tonight’s sardined Whelans throng would argue, the Pernice song fits firmly into the “timeless” canon, achingly crafted, sugar-coated, tenderly sung and supremely arranged.
There’s a bounty of timeless Pernice pop to choose from, and tonight’s
spread is culled from 1998’s Pernice Brothers pop opus ‘Overcome By
Happiness’,/strong>, his two solo efforts from this year, ‘Chapaquiddick Skyline’ and ‘Big Tobacco’, and a brand new full band album currently in the works. He even throws in ‘Grudge Fuck’, for the trainspotters’ delight, from way back when Joe was a Scud Mountain Boy and more concerned with broken-heart country than lush Bacharach swingers.
But even without the brassy fanfare and sweep-you-off-your-feet strings, the ‘Overcome By Happiness’ material shines like rough-cut diamonds.
‘Crestfallen’ imagines a Belle And Sebastian piano boogie as led by Alex
Chilton, although sung by Elvis Costello. Joe sings a lot like Elvis, and he’s even got the thick-rimmed specs to carry it off. ‘Wait To Stop’ recalls Teenage Fanclub’s ‘The Concept’. The title track could be Nick Drake on uppers.
And then there’s the sparser solo material. ‘Everyone Else Is Evolving’ and ‘Prince Valium’ are unsettling and despair-ridden, but nonetheless melodic. The three new songs (‘100 Dollar Pocket’, ‘Flaming Wreck’ and ‘Ballad of Bjorn Norg’) sound smashing, but just wait until he gets the orchestra in for the full effect. And when he plays the closing ‘Please, Mr. Please’, not a soul here complains that the Olivia Newton John version is better.