Silver Jews
Starlite Walker


4.0
excellent

Review

by butcherboy USER (123 Reviews)
July 23rd, 2017 | 44 replies


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Scotch and penicillin..

The affliction of Silver Jews can be summed up in two words, twice repeated – Crooked Rain Crooked Rain. Formed in 1989 in NYC by sullen existential crooner David Berman and a then-unknown lanky meliorist Stephen Malkmus, the band were all-but poised to become a minor force in the city’s underground circuit, and future record shop prima obscurity. Instead, Malkmus went ahead and crafted Crooked Rain, and suddenly Silver Jews were relegated to a Pavement side-project. Released the same year as Crooked Rain, Starlite Walker is now mostly known as one of several jumping points for Malkmus’ dabbles in indie pop perfection. As Pavement grew into their golden child title, Berman retreated, keeping Silver Jews going with a rotating cast of fellow poetic curmudgeons. Starlite Walker did eventually become that treasured record shop find, though mind you, one that’s ever-so-slightly laden by the bittersweet slant of ‘what could have been.’

That bitter-sweetness is most obvious on “Advice to the Graduate,” as close as the band keep to Crooked Rain’s sparkled passion, Malkmus tempering Berman’s low half-spoken surly streaks with his bright-eyed poetics. Otherwise, Berman’s layered and at-times disheveled arrangements lead the way here. He sneaks in some country slide into “Trains Across the Sea,” whistles up a storm on “Living Waters,” moogs away on “Rebel Jew,” and slips kitschy electronics at random points. Looking at Starlite retroactively, plenty of its cleaner, less lo-fi aspects smack of Pavement, which just about sums up Silver Jews’ grievances, since the two bands more or less came around at the same time and from the same minds, taking cues from each other in equal parts.

All time-and-place strife aside, what cannot be argued with is actualized quality; and ultimately, Crooked Rain, this is not. The album feels undercooked at points, and over-maudlin in others, but for all that scatterbrained aesthetic, when Starlite Walker catches you on at the right moment, on the right early autumn night, there isn’t a note on it that sounds superfluous or peripheral.

At the heart of its hearts, Starlite Walker is a record of re-surfacing, a campfire album for broken adults. A campfire where no one tosses cherry bombs into the pit, kisses wildly, or leaps over the flame, woozy on poppers. A campfire of receding hairlines, career jobs long-rued, divorces and long personal silences. Coy flirting through crow’s feet, unrenowned books, and things of beauty, forgotten and remembered and forgotten again.



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user ratings (66)
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
butcherboy
July 23rd 2017


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album is a requisite for anyone who likes The National really..

SandwichBubble
July 23rd 2017


12336 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Why'd I have this at a 3 when I have natural bridge at a 3.5. i like this more than natural bridge....

Nice job on the review (:

Digging: Dirt - Never Mind Dirt - Here's the Bollocks

hal1ax
July 23rd 2017


14911 Comments


damn.. u are a rly good writer

butcherboy
July 23rd 2017


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cheers, guys.. thanks very much



Sandwich, having this at 3 is downright criminal

Divaman
July 23rd 2017


7078 Comments


Was ready to give you a pos, then I remembered I can't anymore. Imaginary pos, anyway.

Digging: Fleetwood Mac - Say You Will

butcherboy
July 23rd 2017


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cheers, Diva!

theBoneyKing
July 23rd 2017


19679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice one butch, this is a band I've been meaning to get to for a long time, I'm pretty sure I'd love them. I'm prob going to check American Water soon.

verdant
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2017


2459 Comments


fuck sake, went to pos again, when will i learn

love how you describe the relationship between the two bands here. still haven't properly dug into Pavement, will rectify immediately.

AsleepInTheBack
Contributing Reviewer
July 23rd 2017


6711 Comments


wow, that last paragraph is wonderful. whole thing is wonderful. you're wonderful, keep doing wonderful things

butcherboy
July 23rd 2017


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Land, you need Pavement!!



Asleep, you're too kind and wonderful..



Boney, American Water is their best album, but this one might be my favourite..

brainmelter
July 24th 2017


7197 Comments


nice review, that outro is somethin’
great band

Digging: Plague Rider - Rhizome

Ebola
July 24th 2017


3884 Comments


excellent band name
"At the heart of its hears"
Did you mean heart of its hearts?

butcherboy
July 24th 2017


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cheers, brain..



and Ebola, yes I did.. thanks very much! I like my tautologies spelled correctly..

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
July 24th 2017


3521 Comments


A thing of beauty is a joy till its forgotten and remembered and forgotten again. Beautiful review as always. I quite like what I've heard from Pavement; I'll give this and Crooked Rain a go, hopefully.

Conmaniac
July 24th 2017


25893 Comments


still need to get into Pavement omg
but yeah great review dude, love how you breeze by so much info so fluidly. always a nice read

butcherboy
July 24th 2017


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks very much, Blush and Con..



I'd rec Crooked Rain and Brighten the Corners for you Blush, and Slanted and Enchanted for you Con.. but you can't go wrong with Pavement really..

danielcardoso
July 24th 2017


11770 Comments


This deserved a review! You da man Butch :D

theBoneyKing
July 24th 2017


19679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I also need to check out Pavement... However I feel like I'd dig this band more than Pavement due to the country spin they supposedly have...either way Silver Jews are higher on my priority list.

butcherboy
July 24th 2017


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cheers, dan!



Boney, these guys are folkier and ply closer to the kind of genres you seem to dig.. so their high points will work better for you, I'd say.. besides, they are one of the holy trinity of granddaddies of The National..

TumsFestival
July 24th 2017


2470 Comments


Big fan on American Water, might have to check this out. Great review ya got here



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