Music: Goodbye, Killer by The Pernice Brothers ***
Joe Pernice is one of the unsung heroes of American songwriting. Highly prolific, he has released 11 studio albums under a variety of guises and also found the time last year to publish an acclaimed debut novel (with an accompanying album of covers, including a masterful take on Del Shannon's I Go to Pieces).
Through the floating line-up of The Pernice Brothers (only one other member, Bob, is actually his brother), the Boston singer has delivered his best work. A pair of albums, Overcome by Happiness and The World Won't End, are so good they make evangelists out of the most taciturn of us.
Goodbye, Killer boasts all the Pernice hallmarks -- an evocative, melancholy rasping vocal, chiming guitars, clean production and hook after hook -- but it isn't anywhere nearly as satisfying as the aforementioned albums. There simply aren't as many good songs, although those that do pass muster will convince newcomers to Pernice that his compositional gifts and observational nous are well worth investigation. Opener Bechamel will grab you on first listen, while Jacqueline Susann is the sort of happy-sad song that Pernice writes like a dream.
Ultimately, though, as the first Pernice Brothers album since 2006's unspectacular Live A Little, this country-tinged effort is a disappointment.
Burn it: Bechamel; Jacqueline Susann