Live a Little

The fifth studio album from the Massachusetts band continues their tradition of memorable pop/rock music with offbeat lyrics and terrific melodies.

Joe Pernice used to be in '90s alt-country group Scud Mountain Boys, and then in 1998 put out the first Pernice Brothers record with his brother Bob. The band quickly became a glorified solo project, essentially a vehicle for Joe's music with a rotating cast backing him.

Pernice's lyrics are always interesting, sometimes startling in their unexpected imagery. The new album has a poster child for Pernice's perspective in a song titled "Cruelty to Animals." The title alone gets your attention, despite the fact that the lyrical cruelty is only metaphor. But it features lines like describing being surprised as "stuck in dumb amazement like a dog who's told to levitate." That's classic Joe Pernice--his words sometimes seem a little twisted but are ultimately not, in fact they're usually quite nice simply expressed differently.

"Zero Refills" features repeated piano notes and a vocal harmonies like a '60s pop song, and then kicks into a sort of a dreamy, looping guitar solo. The song makes good uses of a string section to broaden out the sound, something the album does well with both strings and horns.

Live a Little is eleven new songs and one remake of a Scud Mountain Boys song ("Grudge F***"), an even better album than the band's 2005 CD Discover a Lovelier You.

Mike Sauter, WYEP Music Director