Album review: Jeffrey Lewis

Jeffery Lewis & Los Bolts - Manhattan (Rough Trade)

JEFFREY LEWIS grew up on Manhattan's bohemian Lower East Side and this area of New York acts as a loose theme across the 11 songs on this album.

While his work is known for its humour and energetic mix of folk, singer-songwriter, indie, and punk, Jeffrey opts to begin with one of the most poignant songs he has yet recorded, 'Scowling Crackhead Ian', a rumination on a former bully, tempered by a concern for where he might be now in life.

It does not take long before the Lewis wit emerges, with Jeffery poking fun at his own ideological/artistic pretentions on 'Have A Baby', or chronicling the challenge of being in a band on the road on the blackly-hilarious 'Support Tour'. There are also moments of gentle calm, such as the delightful melodic indie of 'Thunderstorm'.

The unexpected highlight though is 'The Pigeon', a rewite of Poe's 'The Raven', where Jeffrey plays a rabbi - of the kind often seen in Woddy Allen films (Jeffrey is of Jewish stock so can get away with it ) - who bemoans a pigeon that refuses to leave his apartment. The song will also leave you with a vibrant Yiddish vocabulary (A sheynem dank Jeffrey )! Eccentric, but appealing.

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