The Jim Yoshii Pile Up

"You are all hereby formally indicted," sings Paul Gozenbach on "A Toast to the Happy Couple," with all the rage and acrimony he can muster while the remainder of this fine Oakland quintet attempts to keep pace. Gonzenbach's bile infuses Pick Us Apart with an irritating but ultimately successful sob, transforming the Yo La Tengo-ish mantras into personal and painful recollections. Like John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats, Gozenbach is marvelously adept at drudging up childhood nightmares and airing all the grisly details in public, hoping for closure that could prove more elusive than he thinks. More varied than The Mountain Goats or labelmates The Wrens, The Jim Yoshii Pile Up is equally capable of sharing the pain acoustically (the optimistically titled "Heart My Home") or with feedback (the tripped-out psychedelia of "The Mind of God"). The narratives of "Pick Us Apart" are bleak, disturbing and detailed. On "Jailhouse Rock," Gozenbach recounts, "The coroner threw a party at the county jail/And I was the entertainment." Celebrating pain as the ultimate source of creativity, Gozenbach and crew deliver the warped goods with style and substance.


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