It’d be a surprise to learn that mostly-one-man-band Kevin Peroni (he gets by with a little help from his friends) isn’t a paid-up member of both the Elliott Smith and George Harrison Cultural Preservation Societies. On his second Wiretree album (following 2007’s Bouldin) Peroni ably captures both men’s autumnal vibe and knack for well-crafted, classy pop, while still carving out his own path. To that end, Luck posits two futures for Wiretree: For much of the album’s front half, Peroni seems to play the role of low-key cheerleader, offering oblique-ish, chin-up, cheer-up advice to a nameless “you”: “don’t let your emotions take pieces from your stolen heart” (“Falling”) and “all the nights are keeping you down from the days of your calling” (“Back in Town”) pleaded out over plangent guitar lines; at times it threatens to become entirely too well-mannered. Peroni, fortunately, rights the ship on the album’s B-side, as an urgent organ pumps some menace into “Information” and “Satellite Song”‘s opening assertion that “I believe the world’s ending on a Sunday” immediately pulls you in, and later sneers that “I don’t have the heart to help you get over me”—ouch. Call it singer/songwriter post-punk… oh, wait, that’s emo. Don’t call it that. Peroni—and Wiretree as a larger entity—flourish when he embraces his moodier sonic and lyrical elements. Go to the dark side of Luck; it’s much more fun.
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