Ironic NYC post-folk
Jeffrey Lewis, a New Yorker, is tied to the Moldy Peaches and the folk punk
movement. He also draws Robert Crumb-style cartoons laconically charting the
pitfalls that blight his every waking hour. His album has the sort of kooky
indie title that makes you want to kick him long, frequently and hard.
But do not dismiss Jeffrey Lewis as another lo-fi too-cool-for-school
fashionista. Beneath his could-care-less shoulder shrugs and don’t-me-mind
routine beats a heart bigger than the Brooklyn Bridge.
The album’s central track ‘The Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song’ is the simple tale
of a chance meeting with a girl. They talk briefly, he never gets her name, but he has never forgotten her. Moldy Peaches will never take “If I was Leonard Cohen or some songwriting master/I’d know to get oral sex first then write the song after” and make it sound charming and much more than an excuse for a cutesy rhyme.
Lewis still grates at times. ‘Another Girl’, a vitriolic shot aimed at some girl
who has wronged him, is piss poor acoustic punk . ‘Amanda Is a Scalape’ is pretty much the same. But then he weighs in with ‘Heavy Heart’, a simple guitar song that rings like it was picked by a soulful old Delta blues man. It lifts the spirit.
He’s not quite a stripped back metropolitan Beck, but he’s knocking close.