Perhaps my affection for this record and this band reflects both my age and my undying worship for head Silver Jew, David Berman, and his former college buddy Steve (Pavement) Malkmus. Like all of his prior records and, for that matter, those of Malkmus, in addition to the catchy alt-country melodies, it is the quirky literate lyricism that tend to leave the deepest impression. For example on ‘San Francisco B.C.’ Berman tells the story of a couple who are changing with the times. And so Berman in his familiar brand of talk-singing begins: “Since her Dad the local barber was beaten to death/she had become a vocal martyr for the vegan press.” On ‘Candy Jail’ he begins “Pain works on a sliding scale/so does pleasure in a candy jail.” And so on, this is the essence of the Silver Jews.
On almost every song on “Lookout Mountain” the formula is less about repeated choruses or drawn out grooves, but more about stories- all weird, clever and short succinct meditations through his kaleidoscope world. ‘Lookout Mountain’ is easily the Silver Jews poppiest, most accessible effort yet. And even though this isn’t their best record, that would more likely be “The Natural Bridge” or “American Water,” this time around Berman and Co. are just having more fun, playing largely upbeat songs on lighthearted topics. To me this is like listening to an old friend who is in a really good mood.