Pete Yorn

Pete Yorn

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Pete Yorn has a knack for attracting intriguing collaborators, and for his eponymous fifth solo album he’s produced by perhaps his most interesting partner yet: Black Francis, the mastermind of the Pixies. The two don’t seem to have much in common but that’s only if you ignore everything Black Francis did after the Pixies. There, he pioneered a fusion of Iggy Pop and roots music that isn’t in an entirely different ballpark from Yorn’s, even if it may be at the other end of the stadium. Certainly, the guitar-heavy Pete Yorn recalls The Cult of Ray as much as it does Nightcrawler, with Yorn easing into a setting that could have been constructed by the Catholics, but he’s not writing like Black; he’s retaining his unaffected, straight-ahead songwriting voice. It’s a curious combination that doesn’t always work -- he’s hampered whenever he slides toward the cutesy, as he does on “Rock Crowd” and “Velcro Shoes” -- but this album's often a bracing, propulsive listen, the hardest rock Yorn has ever recorded, even if it does suggest Yorn is like tofu, adapting the characteristics of whatever spices he’s paired with.

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