Silver Jews – Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea

January 01, 1970




In the packaging for the Silver Jews’ sixth album,
bandleader David Berman includes a hand-drawn chord chart and an entreaty
reading, “Anyone can play these songs. Just put your fingertips on the polar
bear noses and strum.” Berman, of course, is being modest, as everything that
seems so basic about this band – the childlike melodies, the pranksterish
lyrics, his own monotone vocals – would give even the most classically trained
musician fits attempting to replicate. It may not take a genius to pen lyrics
such as “How much fun is a lot more fun?/Not much fun at all,” but it does
require a certain enviable madness to write a song about a “Suffering Jukebox”
and cover an obscure Japanese composer and still sound as winningly innocent as
a grade-school choir. Advisable or not, the desire to poke some polar bears in
the nose and play along is damn near irresistible.


“Open Field,” “Party Barge” JAKE CLINE

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