Domino – 2001 – 35 minutes

It's difficult to argue with an album that opens with the lines "When God was young/He made the wind and the sun/Since then, it's been a slow education", especially when this genesis is delivered by the sonorous voice of one DC Berman.

Berman, the engagingly literate frontman with the Silver Jews, moved to Nashville to record the follow-up to 1998's 'American Water' and that town's influences permeate 'Bright Flight'. He combines a fascination with the honky-tonk themes (heartbreak, bars, alcohol) and sounds (pedal steel and lonesome guitar) with intelligent and humorous lyrics, producing an immensely warm-hearted album that's sure to make you smile.

'I Remember Me' is a twisted Berman short story set to a sparse guitar and percussion accompaniment. The ballad tells a doomed tale that takes you from the lovers' first meeting ("He almost walked into a wall/Oh man she was a sight to see") to the proposal interrupted by a runaway truck ("On the bank of the road 'neath the cottonwoods/He turned to her to ask if she'd marry him/When a runaway truck hit him where he stood"), his coma, her marriage to a baker and his lonely memories. After all that trauma you can understand why Berman follows it up with 'Horseleg Swastikas' Zen-like mantra: "I want to be like water if I can/'Cos water doesn't give a damn".

From puns ("the only ten I see" in 'Tennessee') to cry-into-your-whiskey twangs ('Friday Night Fever'), the spirited sing-along romp through a winter wonderland in 'Let's Not and Say We Did' and a simple lament on the death of a friend ('Death of an Heir of Sorrows'), 'Bright Flight' is a treasure that further reveals itself with each repeated listening.

Caroline Hennessy

Tracklisting: Slow Education - Room Games and Diamond Rain - I Remember Me - Horseleg Swastikas - Transylvania Blues - Let's Not and Say We Did - Tennessee - Friday Night Fever - Death of an Heir of Sorrows