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Chappaquiddick Skyline - Chappaquiddick Skyline
(Sub Pop)

Oooooh. Yeah, that's how, um, pretty this latest offering from Joe Pernice is. Pernice, who can't seem to release more than an album or two in a row under the same moniker—the first two were as Scud Mountain Boys, while the last one, 1998's gorgeous Overcome By Happiness, was billed as Pernice Brothers. With brother Bob out of the picture on this outing, a name change was admittedly in order again, though the Ted Kennedy-evoking moniker this time out could serve to confuse whatever casual fans this most gentle-sounding rock and roll band has accumulated.

This first Skyline album really is a proper followup to the Pernice Brothers record. It showcases Joe's aching falsetto, his gently strummed acoustic guitar, and his melodic and instrumental sensibility that recalls the Bread end of the '70s singer-songwriter spectrum. Then there are his words that break your heart but put it back together in the end—check the album-closing "Kidney Shaped Pool," with its direct quote from "God Only Knows": "If you should ever leave me/My life would go on, believe me." Most of the songs are melodic gems, with quintessential Pernice tunes like "Everyone Else Is Evolving" and "Hundred Dollar Pocket" right at home with the almost nursery rhyme "The Two Of You Sleep" and a surprising cover of New Order's "Leave Me Alone." This is mellow garage rock—literally, recorded at home on 8-track—at its best.