Novi Split Pink in the Sink

[Hush; 2007]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: youthful and straightforward indie rock
Others: Bright Eyes, Death Cab For Cutie, Pete Yorn

First thought: Two in the pink, one in the stink. Second thought: Novi is one of the few words that rhymes with Bon Jovi. Third thought: the Serrated Knife Incident of 2002.

David Jerkovich, the young lad behind Novi Split, may or may not be young. I’m unsure. Couldn’t find his age in my research. But he does have an innocence about him — his songs do. Innocent, but mature. Aside from his cover of Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love” (which, like everything related to Ms. Knowles, makes me want to punch her father/manager in his mustachioed face), he stands up straight and his playfulness doesn’t come off as buffoonery. Granted, Jerkovich claims the inspiration for these songs comes from tales of his inebriated friends on the cliffs in Split, Croatia. Drunk on a mountaintop? That guarantees he isn’t older than a quarter-century. Doesn’t it? After consulting my Croatian friend, Ivo, I learned novi translates to new. New Split. New city in Croatia. A new outlook on Split, Croatia (sounds like stoned theorizing).

Not-so-new music. Jerkovich makes music in his parents’ house (another age clue). He plays almost all the instruments himself, like a big boy. His voice is pleasant (but borderline bromidic). His lyrics don’t break fiberglass or shatter minds (though they aren’t quite trite). The music, on the whole, is breezy (like those March days that hit 50 degrees—glimpses of spring, like today).

First thought (follow-up): Could D.J., Davy Jerkovich, Jerkovich the Jerk, be a horny teenager, discussing the nether regions of the female anatomy with such a piggish and inept expression? Second thought (follow-up): anchovy. Third thought (follow-up): In 2002 I was washing dishes, cut my forefinger on a serrated steak knife and bled into the copper kitchen sink—pink was everywhere. Third thought is not always the best thought. Third thought does scar, though.

I could, in reality, rip this album to shreds, crush it to teeny-tiny smithereens, or heckle it until its purchasers laugh at the creator’s gaffe. Why would I do that? Well, because we aren’t exploring any new territory here, we’re not upturning the ground of any pre-existing territory, and we’re not even at liberty to piss on any territory. But I don’t feel compelled to do that. Why? Well, because I don’t detect pretension here. I can’t sniff and smell any ulterior motives or urine. There also doesn’t seem to be any desire to achieve anything besides good songs. And they are good songs (even if they are composed of commonplace ingredients). Good songs go a long way — all the way to a noble 3.5.

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