Album Review: 'Em Are I - Jeffrey Lewis

From the tumbling opening of 'Slogans', Jeffrey Lewis' latest anti-folk album 'Em Are I is a starkly honest, battered and bruised album that does nothing but serve truth up on a platter, over and over.

Unsurprisingly, given their previous collaborations, there are traces of the Moldy Peaches (and Kimya Dawson's solo work) in Jeffrey Lewis' slower numbers, but this album is all his. It's unique because it is so heart breaking and it's heart breaking simply because it can't help be anything else. It's messy and complicated and scuffed, much like the artist and the listener, and at times it is staggeringly fantastic, as on the experimental muted-jazz-punk-fusion 'The Upside-down Cross'.

It all literally sounds like it can't help but paint a warts and all picture of life. 'Roll Bus Roll' is Jeffrey just too tired to lie. 'If Life Exists' is Jeffrey being lyrically too inane to be anything but telling the truth. 'Broken Broken Broken Heart' is Jeffrey still too grazed and too stung to be doing anything beyond recall the truth.

It might sound like a tough listen, but it isn't. At all. 'Em Ar I is so chipper about being through a rough and tumble it feels like a forward roll over a cowpat in your boss' favourite suit. It's all there in the scared-yet-spellbound-by-the-beauty-of-it-all in 'Bugs & Flowers'. It's being brave enough to just keep singing and singing and playing and playing until nothing else matters.

Available on on CD and MP3.

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