12 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Entire strains of pop music exist to explore the tension between gorgeous melody and depressing lyrics. Short-story writer Joe Pernice proved himself an obsessive master of this micro-genre on this, the Pernice Brothers's 1998 debut. The music is smart, slightly decadent pop abetted by subtle, Van Dyke Parks-ish orchestral arrangements. But this is really music for folks who obsess over lyrics: "It's hard to read a simple mind" and "Your colored eye and a lipstick voice and a cough you could never shake" are just two examples of Pernice's wordplay here. The Pernice Brothers's follow-up album, 2001's The World Won't End, has its champions, but Overcome by Happiness is the best album from this talented band.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Entire strains of pop music exist to explore the tension between gorgeous melody and depressing lyrics. Short-story writer Joe Pernice proved himself an obsessive master of this micro-genre on this, the Pernice Brothers's 1998 debut. The music is smart, slightly decadent pop abetted by subtle, Van Dyke Parks-ish orchestral arrangements. But this is really music for folks who obsess over lyrics: "It's hard to read a simple mind" and "Your colored eye and a lipstick voice and a cough you could never shake" are just two examples of Pernice's wordplay here. The Pernice Brothers's follow-up album, 2001's The World Won't End, has its champions, but Overcome by Happiness is the best album from this talented band.

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