Simple guitar chords, clever, witty and surreal lyrics, and a dry untrained voice, squeaky and nasal. Jeffery Lewis isn't simply a singer, but a creative comic mastermind, resembling a folk Eminem or Tenacious D.
His songs are often sweet, full of pop culture references, gentle folk stylisings while others resemble folk punk, as he thrashes his guitar about, shouting about zombies and LSD. Not since I first listened to Ryan Adams Heartbreaker have I been so excited about an album, and the artist.
Like my story through song favourites, Belle and Sebastian, Jeffery Lewis puts together tales of growing up and fame together with humorous affect, showing off his observation skills of life. Back When I Was Four is full of surreal lyrics such as '…and I had a real bad dream about a gorilla in the bathroom' (my girlfriend likes this bit very much).
Jeffrey Lewis' sound is very raw, as if made on the cheap (it probably was) with the instruments played more for affect than artistic expression. Nowhere is this shown better than on the two real stand out tracks on the album, No LSD Tonight, and If you Shoot the Head you Kill the Ghoul.
No LSD Tonight, is reminiscent of those South Park comic songs. Tap your feet funny-tastic, a comical song still maintaining its style and drive.
If you Shoot the Head is totally wild and incredibly infectious. Building with a constant emergency. The lyrics are genius 'A high powered short ranged weapon is a mans best tool/ If you shoot the head you kill the ghoul.' Its build continues with Jeffrey shouting "Kill Kill Kill" at its height as the instruments cut out. Its brilliant stuff.
Graveyard is full of heavy drums and snarling guitars, a symbol hissing in pain. His voice is rough and cigarette raw, so perfect for the painful and passionate party rant. Texas is a quick one-minute spank, as cool and real as anything else on the album.
As well as raw comical thrash, Jeffrey does a sublime simple tune, which repeats constantly with the soft gravel voice reciting prose in time. Gold, and I saw a Hippy Girl on 8th Avenue are tightly compacted, though the string keeping it together seems a little loose.
I really feel a sense of success with this album. There are so many brilliant albums out there we miss, never hear. This could so have been one of those albums I never heard, and for the fact that I did hear it, I feel truly satisfied and lucky. Jeffrey Lewis' music sounds like the kind of stuff Dave Eggars would have made if he made folk rock music instead of writing. A staggering work of comical genius and some of the most catchy fun and well constructed songs.
Addicted To Sound