This review was first
published on CLUAS in 2001
Other albums reviewed in 2001
The Pernice Brothers
A review of the album 'The World Won't End'
Hmmm... Fond of the Beach Boys? Touched by Teenage Fanclub? Stuck with the Go Betweens? Miss The Beatles? Like your pop intelligent and suitably twisted? Well, if any of the above apply to you then you'll love The Pernice Brothers second album "The World Won't End".
The Pernice Brothers (led by Joe Pernice and his brother Bob) have attracted the sort of cult following that the Go Betweens did before them - and there are indeed similarities between the two - but the Pernice Brothers, musically at least, are by far a happier bunch. In a sense, they're an older version of Teenage Fanclub. Yep, that's correct. An older Teenage Fanclub, but sadly not the Teenage Fanclub that produced the seminal "Bandwagonesque". No, we're talking the Teenage Fanclub of the past few albums, honey kissed pop, sugar-coated melancholia and ultimately a frustrating listen when it should be richly rewarding.
Recent single "7.30" jolts the listener awake two songs in. A great single and caustically written it is a perfect three minute blast of summers not being what they should be when they should be something better. Which in a way is a good summary of the album. It's nearly what it should be - a smooth flowing hook laden pop classic - but with a little more thought it could have been something better. Whilst the band are fabulous at the harmonies, they seem to think that that's the way to go and each song does suffer somewhat from an over-reliance on the old multi layered "ohh ahhs" and cloud high husky breathing vocals.
Even so, the songwriting is pretty good in the "intelligent man writing intelligent pop songs" stakes and could certainly teach Ash a thing or two about relationships that never were. "The Ballad of Bjorn Borg" for example manages to combine "molten bulkhead burns" with a summer love Joe Pernice hopes will never end. It does of course, like most of the relationships dealt with on the album.
Their first album, "Overcome By Happiness" was a fruitful affair, chocful of a crafty pop and witty lyrics, but this time it's sadly a case of trying just too hard and in the process overseeing the fact that the first half of the album sounds exactly the same. More songs like the mellow country of the closing couplet of "Endless Supply" and beautiful "Cronulla Breakdown" might have worked, but as it is this is highly repetitive stuff.
"...On and on and on and on..." the Pernices sing at the end of "Shaken Baby" - seven tracks in - well, on and on and on the whole album goes, where will it stop? Who knows? But will you still be listening by the time the album stops? Did Teenage Fanclub set the world alight with their last album? Erm... no.