Pernice Brothers: Yours, Mine and Ours (2003)

Joe Pernice has been strikingly consistent, reliably producing quietly understated gentle pop records for more than 20 years, first with the Americana-inclined outfit the Scud Mountain Boys and later as the jangly pop band Pernice Brothers (not to mention a few solo releases along the way).  While there are stylistic changes here and there, including a more immediate and energetic sound on later albums, the constants have been Pernice's lovely vocals, enchanting and sweet, comparable to Elliott Smith and maybe Sebadoh's Lou Barlow, and his subtle way with a restrained hook.

While the first two albums recorded as the Pernice Brothers were pretty great, with a few stand-out tracks each, the third seemed to nail the formula, with one winner after another.  To be fair, the album is front-loaded, with a few slower tracks towards the end, but it kicks off on a pretty big high.  Lead-off track "Weakest Shade Of Blue" is chiming power pop, the sort of thing that should easily win over the Big Star/Matthew Sweet contingent.  But the hits just keep coming -- "Water Ban" takes it down a notch, a quiet little piece with a delightful chorus; "One Foot In The Grave" is back in power pop territory (with maybe a hint of the Smiths); while the absolutely gorgeous "Baby In Two" channels Elliott Smith, with a stunning vocal performance from Pernice.

The rest continues in a similar vein, alternating between the poppier midtempo stuff (most notably the bittersweet, jangly, R.E.M.-tinged "Sometimes I Remember") and a few hushed ballads.  It's a perfect album for a quiet Sunday morning at home, and one I still reach for often.  (Though I'm no less partial to its 2005 follow-up, Discover A Lovelier You, which sees the band mixing it up a bit more and amping things up a little, but without losing any of the inherent sweetness of the sound.)

Here's some amateur video for "Baby In Two":
...and for "Weakest Shade":