Silver Jews of today are not the Joos of yore, but who cares? We were not going to get something like Starlite Walker or American Water out of David Berman in 2008. The second he shook off his stage aversion and hit the road to support Tanglewood Numbers, it was clear that we were in for a new era of Silver Jews history.
I’m not saying that Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea is a disappointment. It’s totally not; that’s why I’m writing about it. But, while Berman himself has hit the road with his music, he’s traded in his formerly roving songwriting for a more domestic direction. He’s no longer screwing his way across Europe or hitchhiking for Odessa to Houston. He no longer needs to know how to rent a room. Instead he’s peering over the threshold of his pillow and finding whimsical dream-like narratives about a candy jail, party barge and bluegrass drummer named Aloysius.
The movement and poetry is still there, but these days Berman takes a lighter, less esoteric look at the world. He’s married, after all, and Cassie’s right up there with him. They’re taking turns steering their own party barge and, right now, it doesn’t look like anything will stop it.