Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea
The Silver Jews’ David Berman is not for everyone; his deadpan delivery makes Leonard Cohen sound like an accomplished singer. In the past, Berman’s backing band has often sounded as if they were recorded in the supply room closet of a local office building, and the modest country-rock has shuffled like one of its legs is asleep. For Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea, Berman and Co. have brightened the sound (“My Pillow is the Threshold”) and even show levels of rhythmic complexity and instrumental dexterity (“San Francisco, B.C.”). There’s still a shambling quality to their attack and Berman’s quirky charm remains in his odd, literate observations that come spurting forth at unexpected moments. “She was a no wave singer for a country act,” he offers in the unusually festive sounding “Aloysius, Bluegrass Drummer.” “What’s with all the handsome grandsons in these rockband magazines and what have they done with the fat ones, the bald, and the goateed?” he asks flatly during “Strange Victory, Strange Defeat.” Lots of weird moments to indulge in.