Jeffrey Lewis & the Junkyard, ' 'Em Are I' (Rough Trade)

Critical Mass
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by Stacey Anderson

What's that they say -- a Moldy Peach gathers no moss? Antifolk singer-songwriter Jeffrey Lewis has more than a little in common with lo-fi predecessors Kimya Dawson and Adam Green: scratchy, duct-taped melodies, free-form yelps, and incongruous lyrics that hint at a deeper darkness (see the willful country stampede "Whistle Past the Graveyard"). But Lewis also lightens his fifth album with sweet, sincere interludes ("To Be Objectified," "It's Not Impossible"). A skilled cartoonist, he recently drew a revealing strip in the New York Times that read: "Y'gotta whittle down the self-consciousness of audience reaction in order to do anything."

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