Goodbye, Killer

Massachusetts’ Joe Pernice has honed his craft under a variety of guises over the last two decades—recording with the alt-country outfit the Scud Mountain Boys in the early 1990s, as a solo artist using both his own name and the pseudonym Chappaquiddick Skyline, and on and off for the past dozen years with his main vehicle, the Pernice Brothers. He mixes things up on this latest effort with bandmates James Walbourne, Ric Menck and Bob Pernice, reflecting his sublime side, hints of his rootsy past and an edgier attitude that serves Pernice’s feistier inclinations well. His delivery remains endlessly upbeat, even when tenacious lyrics belie the blissful melodies. The kinetic rhythms of “Jacqueline Susann,” the lilt and croon of “We Love the Stage,” the lovely “The End of Faith” and the down-home steel guitar that wafts through the title track all indicate a loosening of the heartstrings. “You’ve known me all my life,” Pernice proclaims on “The Great Depression.” Well, not really … although his music makes us feel as if we have. If Goodbye, Killer leaves you wanting more, Pernice’s new book, Pernice to Me—which documents his snide email exchanges with business partner Joyce Linehan—makes for an ideal companion piece.

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