Friday, December 14, 2012

17. Sun Kil Moon - Among the Leaves (Caldo Verde)

For a while it seemed like Sun Kil Moon would turn out to be either a one-off, a side project, or perhaps just another moniker for which Mark Kozelek to turn out some slowly accumulating eulogies whenever enough piled-up. After all, it took Kozelek five years (if you don’t count the still-curious Modest Mouse covers collection Tiny Cities [2005]) to properly follow-up Ghosts of the Great Highway (2003), Sun Kil Moon’s wonderful debut, with the stark, heartrending April (2008). Since then, though, he’s nearly doubled Sun Kil Moon’s catalogue, to the point where with the release of his expansive new double-album, Among the Leaves, he’s now quietly and very nearly equaled his total output as leader of the seminal 1990s sadcore outfit Red House Painters. Not only does Among the Leaves represent the quickest turnaround for Kozelek under the SKM guise, it’s also, paradoxically, his longest duration-wise since his ‘90s heyday. None of which matters much if the product is of a similar quality to his longer gestating works; what we’ve seen, however, is a somewhat predictable drift into familiarity—and this when Sun Kil Moon didn’t exactly represent a drastic shift in approach from Red House Painters anyway.

If Kozelek was going to continue down this more prolific path, I’m glad he’s decided to go all-in with the more freewheeling gait of Among the Leaves. The last Sun Kil Moon record, Admiral Fell Promises (2010), was, despite its stripped-down, self-imposed nylon-stringed parameters, mostly forgettable. Don’t get me wrong, I could listen to Kozelek softly intone atop intricately picked Spanish guitar lines from here to eternity and die a soothed if not terribly rosy-cheeked corpse. But if I can remember anything much beyond that album’s aesthetic constraints it’ll take more than mental reconciliation as I absorb his new one, which stands out immediately as something far more brisk and song-oriented. If in the end it still suffers from what most Kozelek records do—namely, exhaustion—it’s a much more satisfying trip on a moment-to-moment basis.

via Cokemachineglow (read rest there)

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