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


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.

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