Wednesday, December 31, 2003

We're down to the mildly anticipated #1 album of the year. But first, a few honorable mentions: Ryan Adams - Love is Hell (Part 1), Crooked Fingers - Red Devil Dawn, Mojave 3 - Spoon & Rafter, and Josh Rouse - 1972.

#1: Pernice Brothers - Yours, Mine & Ours

Yours, Mine & Ours is the third consecutive indie-pop masterpiece from the vastly underrated Pernice Brothers. Although lacking the string arrangements of 2001's The World Won't End and 1998's Overcome by Happiness, it still comes across as lushly orchestral pop music. The overall mood of this one doesn't really break any new ground as compared to previous releases, but is still an excellent blend of hook-laden songs with brilliant harmonies and, once again, leaves me anxiously awaiting the future work of Joe Pernice. This is a feeling that once was reserved for Ryan Adams, Jeff Tweedy, and Jay Farrar. Although Tweedy is the only one of the three that has yet to fall from his pedestal, the top step is now reserved for Mr. Pernice.

The album opening, "The Weakest Shade of Blue", and "One Foot in the Grave" are power-pop gems in the tradition of "Working Girls (Sunlight Shines)" and "Bryte Side". The pace slows down considerably for "Baby in Two" and "Blinded by the Stars", which despite being described by one reviewer as a bad Chicago song, is still a gorgeous number regardless of the Peter Cetera vibe. My personal highlights show up late in the album, most notably "Judy", with its perfect expression of earnest longing in lyrics such as "And I won't always mind the certainty it leaves in doubt" and "Tell her that you saw me"; and the most appropriate album closing track, "Number Two", which offers the bittersweet sadness of lyrics such as "You were my life-sucking power monger, even still you were mine" and "I hope that someday we meet both broken. It would feel so good to see you...".

The Pernice Brothers may have outdone themselves with this one, possibly their strongest effort to date.

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