Pernice Brothers, Live a Little

Matthew Fritch

By Matthew Fritch

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Sad-poet turns in another solid set of minor-key guitar pop

It's OK to scoff at the notion that Live a Little is the Pernice Brothers'”back to our roots” album. Over the course of five studio full-lengths, singer-guitarist Joe Pernice has been so consistent in his pursuit of minor-key guitar pop that he's become a sad-poet caricature, a middle-aged bearded Bostonite with an MFA and a breathy Elvis Costello falsetto. But reunited with producer Michael Deming (who contributed to the 1998 debut Overcome by Happiness) and reverting to the use of orchestral strings, Pernice sounds inspired and positively breezy. When he coos “I'm sick of the cynical” on going-home anthem “Somerville,” the rose-colored sentiment feels entirely new.