David Jerkovich (pronounced Yer Ko Vitch) has done something rare. He has, over the last three years, while living in his parent’s home in San Pedro, California--while variously working as a longshoreman and a touring band member--created a radiant jewel of an album in near-obscurity. Well, okay, he is an outright sensation in Brisbane, Australia (the home base to his teenage-whiz Australian promoter.), and he has recorded an imminently likable debut (Keep Moving on Sunset Aliance), but damn. Just damn! This is the kind of album that can cure today’s hyper-short attention span the nation over. It is the album that rocketed to the top of this writer’s “most played” iTunes smart playlist and is currently dominating--by a factor of five--all runners up. These songs just don’t get old.
Why? It’s that je ne sais quois that beguiles every hopeful songwriter. Is Jerkovich the next Dylan or Bright Eyes or Springsteen? No. Does he have a magnetic, classic, songwriting style? You bet. Does he have a radiant persona that he pours into his music, his performance, and his life? Yes he does! Is he alternately hilarious and serious, and does he have more raw musical talent in his pinky (he played 95% of the instruments on this recording) than most So-Cal hipsters have in their fashionably clad bodies? Probably. Sure… But I digress. The music of Novi Split is not about differences, of Star Bellied Sneetches... Pink In The Sink is an olive branch. It is sober and alive and grand and intimate at the same time. And, for all of the meticulous production on Pink, the songs still feel simple, reliable, and refreshing. These are friendly songs folks, and if you’ve got a pulse, David’s true-blue, subtly ragged voice will melt your hearts.
How can something so easy on the ears be so hard on the heart? This is afterall, an album that finally extinguishes the smoldering embers of pain from an intense, sometimes nightmarish, sometimes ebullient coming-of-age sojourn in Portland. Themes of infatuation, love, addiction, betrayal, co-dependence, and isolation are treated with tenderness and the clarity of hindsight. Just as the album unfolded in the three year turning point in the life of Jerkovich—from his departure and return to Portland, Oregon--it will likely be a turning point in his musical career. Jerkovich is a capable and generous supporting band member. He has performed as one half of Kind of Like Spitting, and is now a secret weapon in LA's Ill Lit. He has learned a lot from traversing the country's stages, and while his amiable demeanor is a foil for other songwriters, he holds his own songs close to the chest until they are 100% done. Is he bluffing? Holding a pair? Or does he hold a royal flush? Or does it matter? It's just so electrifying to lay it all out.