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May 20, 2024

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Pernice Brothers
Overcome By Happiness (Sub Pop Records)

By: Geoff Melton

Even though their 1996 Sub Pop release Massachusetts already graced my collection, it wasn't until The Scud Mountain Boys reissued their first two releases, Pine Box and Dance the Night Away as a double CD called The Early Year that I realized that these guys were really onto something with their innovative, but sadly overlooked, sparse acoustic country-tinged pop. As I rediscovered Massachusetts and started wearing out The Early Year, I anxiously looked forward to album number 4, only to have them break up. All this takes us to Overcome By Happiness, the debut from the Pernice Brothers, lead by Scud Mountain Boys primary songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Joe Pernice, accompanied by his brother Bob and a few friends. While at their core, similarities can be drawn between SMB and the Pernice Brothers through their beautiful, well-crafted tunes with a dreamy, laid-back quality, the finished product are radically different. Where SMC were sparse and stripped down, the tunes on Overcome By Happiness are lushly produced pop gems full of grandiose orchestrations and arrangements that bring to mind the work of labelmates Eric Matthews and Sunny Day Real Estate's Jeremy Enigk. Though his old band is missed, Overcome By Happiness makes it easy to forgive Joe for bringing about their demise, and gives me the chance to look forward to album number two.
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