Singer/songwriter David Berman is as much of an ironist in life as he is in art. Note that after landing in rehab following a Xanax overdose (an act with sardonic aspects of its own), he belatedly embraced Judaism — a belief system he'd never taken seriously despite his band's name. Even after trading chemical dependency for religion, however, he remains a deadpan wit of charm and skill, as he demonstrates on Lookout, the first Silver Jews record made without assistance from Berman's longtime cohort, Pavement leader Stephen Malkmus. The melodies are ultra-simple, but they're paired with multifaceted lyrics whose humor is tinged with melancholy on tunes such as the lazy lope dubbed "Suffering Jukebox." As for "San Francisco B.C.," its protagonists boast "sarcastic hair." Don't we all?