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Hello, Goodbye

Pernell Disney

Pernell Disney - Severn Way
(Disney Whirl Records)
3 (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Jan. 27, 2003

Review by Tony Bonyata

It looks like Beck isn't the only one down in the dumps over a broken relationship lately, as the Washington D.C. singer / songwriter Pernell Disney has proven on his latest album Severn Way.
But whereas Beck's low feelings are directly reflected on the music of his most recent work (to pleasing results), Disney instead sounds as if he's putting his failed relationship behind him and happily moving forward (again, to pleasing results).
"Your singing a song you wrote for someone else, Someone new. It's alright. It's okay," Disney candidly sings on the gentle "Midnight Detroit." And it's this type of positive attitude that not only shines in the lyrical content throughout the album, but also radiates through the music as well. From the sunny melody and percolating electronica on "Next" to the upbeat rhythms on the hopeful "Alone" to the ethereal qualities of "I'm From Hollywood" and the lilting balladry of "Another Angel Song," Disney showcases his ability at crafting accessible dreamy pop songs in the tradition of Jeff Buckley and Duncan Sheik.
While the slight strains of electronica adds a breath of fresh air to Disney's warm, reassuring voice and honest acoustic guitars, the use of programmed drum machines throughout also unfortunately undermines the singer / songwriter's human touch with arrangement's that come off slightly stiff and mechanical.
Thankfully, however, the compositions themselves, along with Disney's own honest delivery, rise to the top making Severn Way a welcome way to say 'hello' to someone saying 'goodbye.'

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