Pernice Brothers

Discover a Lovelier You (Ashmont)

This is what happens when you're a songwriter who happens to have an MFA in poetry and a published collection of poems on the shelf: You become known more for your lyrics than your melodies. So it is with Joe Pernice, whose small but devoted following is as likely to quote one of his songs as they are to hum it. Or so it was, because with Discover a Lovelier You, Pernice is more bandleader than lyricist, guiding his Brothers through a layered and, yes, lovely set that includes forays into Strokes-approved guitar stabs and more-cowbell cockiness ("Snow") and for-the-Byrds California cool ("Saddest Quo"). Not to mention "My So-Called Celibate Life," which quotes liberally from Duran Duran and Bruce Springsteen yet manages to not even remotely sound like either one. The lyrics are, as usual, first-rate, more like short stories than verse-chorus-verse: "I give up cigarettes/You sell your hair/I'll be a criminal/You'll be a whore in Scollay Square," begins "Sell Your Hair." But for once, it might take a few listens to notice them.

 
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