Release Date: Jun 17, 2008
Record label: Drag City
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Whether its songs were autobiographical or not, Tanglewood Numbers carried the weight of the hard times David Berman survived before making the album. By contrast, Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea is one of the Silver Jews' lightest albums, at times surpassing the most playful moments of Starlite Walker and American Water. Berman's sly sense of humor has always been a vital -- maybe even the most vital -- ingredient in the Silver Jews' music, but some of the songs here are so goofy, at least on the surface, they might put off fans who want him to be only a serious writer or wry raconteur.
SILVER JEWS Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea (Drag City) Rating: NNNN There aren't many artists whose every release could be considered their best yet, but every Silver Jews disc seems better than the one before. On Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea, David Berman releases another solid album, chugging through infectious Cash-like country, his wife, Cassie Berman, playing June to Berman's Johnny. Lyrically, these Pavement pals retain their usual cynical look at life, but more positive feelings are definitely lurking around in some of these tunes.
If Tanglewood Numbers was a boisterous night out on the town, then Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea is the Advil-fueled comedown. David Berman’s Silver Jews started acting like a proper band after the release of their fifth album in 2005, and rightly so; the glorious cacophony of “Punks in the Beerlight” and “Sometimes a Pony Gets Depressed” were practically begging the notoriously tour-shy Berman to hit the road. Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea is a curious follow-up to the band’s career high point (although Berman would undoubtedly blanch at the word “career” being used to describe the Jews’ peculiar trajectory).
The last Silver Jews record, 2005’s Tanglewood Numbers, got pegged as a therapy session. In interviews, bandleader David Berman spoke openly of the substance abuse and mental health problems that plagued him in the period preceding the record’s release, and Tanglewood’s lyrics (“There is a place past the blues I never want to see again”) nodded forcefully in that direction. Still, the record somehow sounded too clogged to really qualify as an exorcism.