Tanglewood Numbers


In the four years since the last Silver Jews release, reclusive leader David Berman has weathered a suicide attempt, kicked the habit, and assembled a veritable Drag City lovefest (Will Oldham, Azita Youseffi) for the Jews’ latest, and lushest. (Pavement alums Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich return to round off the star-studded cast.)

So those seeking an encore of Bright Flight’s sparse indie honk will be bewildered by the strident guitar stomp on album-opener "Punks in the Beerlight." Its immediate high descends into more familiar, Southern-fried territory, and guitars, violins, banjos and keyboard skronks shimmer atop countrified sing-alongs.

And while the music has gracefully matured here, the cleaner production makes Berman’s whimsy cloying at times. His lyrics have veered from esoterically cryptic to cheeseball: "I’d rather live in a trash can/Than see you happy with another man." This album is perfectly adequate, and the music is comforting — the Jews are masters of indie-fied country-lite — but it ultimately leaves you hungering for something more.

Monica Price is a Metro Times editorial intern. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.