10 Songs, 33 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

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.

EDITORS’ NOTES

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.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.7 out of 5
21 Ratings

21 Ratings

ChevalierSA ,

What Wasn't And Now Is Because

David Berman just made the greatest album of his life, and one of the best so far this year, if not the best. Clever, incisive, poetic, relevant - everything I expected and delivered in spades. Berman proves that he is the best lyricist in the business, if the last 5 albums and "Actual Air" didn't already establish that for us.

Taxiderm the Pachyderm ,

Berman and Co. Do It Again

"Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea" is an epic record, one that takes the listener from the back rooms of 24 hour restaurants to candy jails where the warden knows all your favorite brands, from downtown skylines to party barges. But does the fact that it IS an epic make it the Silver Jews' best record? I can't say that it does. It simply doesn't top "American Water" for me. But it is a record that will grow on you, a record that has one of your favorite Berman songs (even if you don't know which one it is yet). Cassie Berman, DC Berman's wife (and the Joos' bassist) plays a more central role on the record, and it's certainly welcome; while I wouldn't compare them to Johnny and June, they complement each other just as well as Cash and his wife. This is a record worthy of purchase!

Aengq ,

like an old friend

With Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea, Silver Jews' David Berman continues his metamorphosis from one of indie-rock's most poetic and incisive songwriters to nothing less than our generation's Johnny Cash. A marvelous record by a marvelous band.

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