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Silver Jews: Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea


David Berman does not write epic albums. David Berman doesn't write epic lyrics. And if you ask a David Berman/Silver Jews fan which album is their favorite, you'll probably hear them say Natural Bridge, his ultra low-fi release of 1994. With his follow-up releases to that all-hailed album, though, Berman has been playing around with how to redefine low-fi as much as he plays around with his cynical and thoughtful lyrics. Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea is the latest and sixth full-length album from the sometimes poet, sometimes cartoonist, sometimes musician. The marked difference between this one and the last few is the incredibly upbeat attitude in every song. Perhaps this is due to the full integration of the female vocals of Berman's wife, Cassie, which give a much lighter feeling to half of the tracks and the album as a whole. At one point, on the song "Open Field," you may even feel a little Belle-and-Sebastian-meets-Johnny-Cash essence. More traditional Berman fans may enjoy "My Pillow is a Threshold," but if you throw aside your old take on what a Silver Jews album should sound like, the track "Strange Victory, Strange Defeat," a beautiful harmony of Cassie and David in a gritty country croon, could become your favorite. Whether you're hearing Silver Jews for the first time or are a longtime fan, you'll find some way to connect with the inventive lyrics and deceivingly simplistic alt-country indie tunes.