9/10 Clinton Staff review, 27 May 2008The Silver Jews return with a lovely album entitled 'Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea'. Having seen them live recently and having been frustrated at the general over egging of pudding by their talented but insistent (and far too twiddly) backing band I had grave concerns for this record. Surely another lo-fi luminary hasn't slumped to Nashville session musician hell a la Catpower? Thankfully on 'Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea' this isn't the case as from the opening chords of 'What is not but could be if' this record has a warm, timeless feel with any undue twiddling kept to a minimum and David Bermans increasingly classic sounding dark brown voice kept way up in the mix. Whether or not you can cope with that voice and its wavering off key-ness is probably an indicator to how much you enjoy the record though I've never really been a huge fan I was really impressed with what it had to offer. The Silver Jews music is really just a vehicle for Bermans lyrical observations and again he's in top form here. The album standout is the superb 'San Francisco BC' which, along with a lovely rolling melody, enjoys a narrative that you really can't keep your ears off. For Pavement fans, despite the lack of any input from Malkmus and co, there are not one but two 'Range Life' style mid paced countrified tunes the first of which, 'Suffering Jukebox' again enjoys a wonderful lyric and backing vocals from Mrs Berman that just straddle the line of bar band blandness. At 33 minutes it's a short album but its good to see a band not feeling they have to fill up a CD with substandard songs just to reach the perceived quota.
8/10 Frank Dunne Customer review,
Suffering Jukebox is the outstanding track on the album. Cassie Berman's vocals are delicious on the refrain. The production is crisp throughout. The opening song What is not but could be if sounds contrived. If I had heard this instead of Suffering Jukebox I would have held onto my money. He just seems to be fitting words into a melody. He sounds like Johnny Cash. Very sweet guitar work throughout. The return of Tin Pan Alley!
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- Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea by Silver Jews
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