Music News

Pernice Brothers

Naming his band's live album Nobody's Watching Nobody's Listening sums up the wry humor of Joe Pernice, who remains forever genial about the Pernice Brothers' freedom from big-label maneuvering and mainstream concessions. Still, this live document of a 2004 Mercury Lounge show in NYC demonstrates that members of the Boston group could easily become superstars -- in a parallel world in which quality tunes took precedence over model-caliber visages, that is. Particularly affecting is Listening's punky, power-pop version of "Clear Spot," and the keyboard-rich, New Order-inflected "Sometimes I Remember." Like any good concert disc, however, the album is also a realistic snapshot of the show: Pernice's voice wavers off key occasionally, and the mix sometimes favors some instruments over others, as on the cover of the Pretenders' "Talk of the Town." If anything, these minor flaws make Listening the quintessential Pernice disc, one that relishes the beauty and heartbreak inherent in an imperfect life.