NJ’s Pete Yorn has the college sound

Mike Schoeck

Pop-rock singer/songwriter Pete Yorn proves he is an East Coast master of crafty tunes depicting spoiled love relationships. His soon to be released debut, “Music For The Morning After,” due out March 27 on Columbia Records, says it all in the title.
The 26-year old New Jersey native has gained momentum recently, composing the score to the Farrelly brother’s comedy “Me Myself & Irene,” which includes the new single “Strange Condition.”
Yorn’s “Just Another” was also included among newcomers like Wheatus and Five For Fighting on the second volume to the Dawson’s Creek soundtrack.
For a new artist, Yorn clearly resembles such renowned singer/songwriters like Elliott Smith and Britain’s Badly Drawn Boy. His craft, writing pop-rock gems with a keen college-geared sound, is reminiscent of R.E.M. and the Replacements from the get-go. Similarly, he gives off an impression of lo-fi notables like Pavement and Beck Hansen’s early recordings in simple-riffed ditties like “Black.”
“For Nancy” kicks off as a ragged pop rocker, and a worthy radio single full of ringing guitars and acoustic breaks. The track winds up in a similar niche as Everclear or Semisonic’s fueled pop songs.
“Sleep Better” embodies the theme of the album’s title as a more mellow and reflective gem about spoiled relationships and a cataclysmic breakup.
The alt-country tinged and hum-worthy song, “Life on a Chain” was Yorn’s demo recording that he composed on acoustic guitar.
For some reason, the vocal registers of Replacement Paul Westerburg and Wallflower Jakob Dylan come to mind when listening to “Life on a Chain” and “Strange Condition,” the album’s best tracks.
“Stange Condition” is the standout track on the forthcoming album. With synchronized hand claps and effects, it embodies a triumph in pop-rock. It is both vocally and musically inclined to American college pop-rock patriots like R.E.M. and Grant Lee Buffalo.
Combining a college rock sound with a singer/songwriter edge in crafted lyrics and vocal harmony is quite a feat. Pete Yorn promises there’s much more to come. This would be the brand of artist to book at any future May Weekend outing.