One Little Indian - 2005 - 42 minutes

While he namechecks them inside its pages, the Pernice Brothers don't make the final cut in Nick Hornby's ode to music '31 Songs'. If Hornby had to write the book now, however, or pen a sequel, the first track on 'Discover a Lovelier You', 'There Goes the Sun', would be a dead cert for inclusion.

Arguably the best song leader Joe Pernice has ever put his name to, it bounces along on the saddest of melodies and contains the brilliant lines: "Overload on 'Let's Get Lost'/Carve your farewell couplet in my window frost." Even if Pernice's tendency to raise then drop a verse or chorus isn't for you, this song is impossible to resist and sets you up for an album that's his most varied to date.

While many of Pernice's songs have in the past been hard to differentiate, 'Discover a Lovelier You' sees him challenging himself more - indulging in some urgent rocking on 'Snow', adding ambience to the guitars on 'My So-Called Celibate Life' and being brave enough to make the title track an instrumental. And when the result is this beautiful, words aren't needed.

The likes of 'Saddest Quo', 'Say Goodnight to the Lady' and others ensure there's plenty here for the faithful, but this album is at its best when it's not instantly recognisable as the work of Pernice. That may seem like a backward compliment, but it also shows that there's a mine of brilliant sounds he's barely touched. Hopefully he'll keep digging.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: There Goes The Sun - Saddest Quo - Snow - Sell Your Hair - My So-Called Celibate Life - Dumb It Down - Discover A Lovelier You - Say Goodnight To The Lady - Amazing Glow - Subject Drop - Pisshole In The Snow - Red Desert - Amazing Summer