It's amazing how one show can turn a career around. Pete Yorn was one of hundreds of troubadours playing L.A. clubs hoping to get noticed. In the Café Largo audience one evening was film producer Bradley Thomas who liked Yorn's set and asked for some demos for possible inclusion in the '00 Jim Carrey vehicle Me, Myself & Irene.
Usually, this sort of thing leads nowhere but Yorn, a New Jersey native and former Syracuse University frat boy (Delta Upsilon) who majored in Communication and Rhetorical Studies, was hired to score the film with two of his songs, "Strange Condition" and "Just Another" landing on the soundtrack. "Just Another" was also heard in a handful of TV shows (Veronica Mars, Dawson's Creek" and Smallville).
Following the release of Yorn's debut album "musicforthemorningafter" featuring the single "Life On A Chain," Rolling Stone magazine listed him as an "artist to watch" in '01.
Yorn, a one-time drummer turned guitarist, issued "Day I Forgot," two years later. The set was particularly notable for R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck's contributions.
"Nightcrawler" dropped in '06. In an interview Yorn said his first three albums were a "diary of sorts" laid out in a linear order. "So it's a sort of continuing analysis of those topics, and the 'Nightcrawler' LP would represent a later phase," said Yorn.
'09 release "Back And Fourth," contained "Can't Hear Anyone," a song written during the "Nightcrawler" sessions. The track landed in a Mercedes-Benz commercial.
Yorn spent the summer promoting the album opening for Coldplay. Also in '09, Yorn collaborated with actress/musician Scarlett Johansson (The Horse Whisperer, Lost In Translation, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, He's Just Not That In To You) to record "The Break Up Album." The pair also graced a fashion spread of the September '09 issue of Rolling Stone.
Ever lose a 'true love'? Have regrets? Uncertain about what to do? Pete Yorn feels your pain. Trouble is there's rarely any driving passion just wry observations. The songs are melodic but are largely nondescript. Yorn is more about bonding and commiserating. Still, with balladeers like Fleet Foxes and Iron & Wine mellowing audiences across the nation, Yorn thankfully notches it up a bit.
"musicforthemorningafter" is Yorn's first and best effort. The set opens with "Life On A Chain" and the catchy "Strange Condition." "Just Another" is a tuneful ballad but it and everything else is eclipsed by "For Nancy ('Cos It Already Is)." This uptempo track has some bite to cut through the midtempo clutter.
"Day I Forgot" takes a step back and relies more on romantic ballads. It's saved by "Come Back Home," the Blues shuffle of "When You See The Light" and the spicy "Burrito."
"Nightcrawler" has more going for it though it opens with "Vampyre's" acoustic drivel. "Undercover," "Maybe I'm Right" and "Splendid Isolation" standout as does "Same Thing" which channels Neil Young.
Going back again, only this time with the Byrds, "Last Summer" is the key track on "Back And Fourth." There's also the Country flavored "Country" (figures). But "Don't Wanna Cry" is just the weepy ballad you'd expect while "Paradise Cove," a good song unfortunately propelled by a drum machine. You'd think a one-time drummer would have come up with something more creative. Not surprisingly, another mid-tempo track, "Close" makes the keeper list. That's what he does.
"The Break Up," that title conjures up visions of dreadful, heart-wrenching acoustic guitar/piano ballads. Fortunately, it's not that.
While "The Break Up" has its share of acoustic guitar, songs have some energy and display inescapable hooks. "Relator" falls out of the roadhouse while "Wear And Tear," "I Don't Know What To Do" and "Blackie's Dead" have a melodic pop leaning. Of the handful of ballads, some could have been tossed but thankfully they are in the minority. One of the more interesting slower tunes is the airy cover of Chris Bell's (Big Star) "I Am The Cosmos." It's a shame all break ups aren't this entertaining.