Jack Lesser Lewis' Awkward Energy - Lvov Swims the Willamette Jack Lewis… Gown by the riverside (Img: Marci LeBrun)

Review: Jack Lesser Lewis’ Awkward Energy – Lvov Swims the Willamette

Published on May 2nd, 2012 | Jonny Abrams

The latest gem to role off the production line of Cornershop‘s burgeoning Ample Play label, Jack Lewis – brother of Jeffrey – belies his labyrinthine monikers for both band and album with a set of simple songs that provide an ideal platform for his sunny, pleasantly eccentric personality to shine.

Playful of mood, lyric and melody, Lewis’s laid-back demeanour frequently evokes Slanted and Enchanted-era Stephen Malkmus, most notably on the lightly menacing “Shadow Party”, wonkily gorgeous “Fell in Love Again (Watching Sue De Beer)” (“Her dirty blonde hair really turned me on / But that stud in her nose really turned me off / It really turned me off” could be straight out of an early Pavement song) and terrifically punctuated “Wait it Out”, while first-album Apples in Stereo are brought to mind by the blissed-out “Not Done Hugging”.

However, Lewis carves out a nifty little niche for himself with the gorgeously warming bass/synth play-off of “Whitey” (is he really singing “what does it matter that I ate your kitty?”), the grin-inducing guitar-pop gold of “The Rabbit, The Bat and The Reindeer” and “Head to Toe”, the album’s blackest sheep by dint of its minor-key piano, rumbling drums and Wild West guitar. These are three excellent songs, and so joyous that the sloppily double-tracked vocals matter not a jot, perhaps even serving to enhance the all-round effect.

“The Polar Bear” wraps things up on a nicely cuckooing note, underlining the emergence of Jack Lewis as a gifted purveyor of odd-pop whose sun-kissed, off-kilter melodies should appeal to fans of The Dead Trees. Lvov Swims the Willamette is not without its flaws, but it’s tremendously promising fare nonetheless.

Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!

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Lvov Swims the Willamette will be released on 28th May through Ample Play. For more information, including a list of UK dates in June and a free download of “Whitey”, please visit ampleplay.tumblr.com/jacklewis

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About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.