David Berman is king of writing lines that stick with you after one listen. Lines that feel obvious and unadorned, but at the same time hit like colorful epiphany. Which is what good writing can do, no? In “Strange Victory, Strange Defeat,” the lead track from Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea, Silver Jews’ sixth album and follow up to Tanglewood Numbers, we get squirrels imported from Connecticut and then this: “What’s with all the handsome grandsons in these rock band magazines? What have they done with the fat ones, the bald, and the goateed.” It doesn’t hurt that the chorus is one of Berman’s patented hooks: Somehow both lazy-day and a full-on call-to-arms. Or at least a reason to sing.
Silver Jews – “Strange Victory, Strange Defeat” (MP3)
“They said, ‘We’re coming out of the black patch, we’re coming out of the pocket. We’re calling into question, such virtue gone to seed.'” If you aren’t familiar with Berman’s written words, check out his book of poetry, Actual Air. If you are, then check out this new album because it’s really good. (A key line of quoted dialog from the awesomely epic, “San Francisco B.C.”: “Romance is the douche of the bourgeoisie.”) This fall Drag City’s also releasing a DVD Silver Jew, which documents the Silver Jews’ tour in Israel, 2006.
Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea is out 6/17 on Drag City.
[Photo by Brent Stewart]