Welcome once more then to The Secret Diary Of David Berman, Aged 30-something....
Now propped up by Malkmus' bluesy Velvets-pop (ie, it sounds like Pavement), Berman's world is a homespun one populated by astronauts, tankers of booze, shattered hearts and 'Honk If You're Lonely' bumper stickers.
All of which can't help but get a tad cloying when Berman constantly returns to his beloved bottle, but 'American Water' works as a skewed, nay, [I]stewed[/I] slice of Lambchop-style Americana. The tunes are homespun (a dreamy 'Federal Dust', a summery 'People'), the vocabulary is verbose and the vibe is an intoxicating one, two great mates gleefully trying to verbally out-point each other over a drink or three but somehow pouring out an album affable enough to forgive obscurist accusations.
Maybe it's something they put in the Water. Or the whiskey.
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday