The Silver Jews are fronted by David Berman, a poet as well as a musician, although I’m not a huge fan of his page poems. They are good at times, but not always my kind of thing. However, I love his music and he has written some terrific lyrics. I’m a sucker for that combination of morbidity, humour, irony, absurdity and lo-fi alt country.
The latest album, Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea, released a couple of months ago, is slightly more upbeat than previous offerings but, thankfully, the deadpan wit is still there and there are plenty of good tunes if you like music sung in a half-spoken drawl. Maybe not as consistently strong as Bright Flight or American Water – I wouldn’t say there are no fillers on this album – but nothing stands out as bad, and the good tracks are really good. My favourite is probably Suffering Jukebox:
“Suffering jukebox, such a sad machine.
You’re all filled up with what other people mean.
And they never seem to turn you up loud.
Gotta lotta chatterboxes in this crowd.
Suffering jukebox in a happy town.
You’re over in the corner breaking down.
They always seem to keep you way down low.
The people in this town don’t want to know…”