Touch and Go

Listen to the guitar of Silkworm’s Andy Cohen, and you’ll see how laziness can be a virtue as well as a chore. On Lifestyle, he repeatedly proves himself capable of laying down Van Halen-worthy riffage with a shrug. But the inevitable solos feature few pyrotechnics; while listening, I had the sense that someone was trying to cut off Cohen’s air by strangling his wrists. This restraint has as much to do with artistic resolve as it does with the tenor of Cohen’s emotions, which, when underscored by his morose vocal yelps, are of the sort that makes one wonder if he’s about to give up. Several years ago, Silkworm went from a four-piece to a trio; the band has since become one of indie rock’s most resourceful elders. The Montana-born journeymen—who moved to Seattle and first recorded for Matador—now fire melodic missives on the displaced lowlife via Chicago record label Touch and Go. Lifestyle’s songs are sweetly escapist, even the cynical ones. “Yr Web” exalts in the persistent memory of a long-ago flame, its longing bleeding into the delicate sludge of “That’s Entertainment,” in which Cohen decides, “You’re for me!/You’re foreign!” sounding all the while as if he’s saying, “You’re falling.” Turns out Cohen himself is doing the falling—right into a whirlpool of sound that’s safely under his control—which is just how he likes it. —Brett Anderson