Mark Kozelek, under the guise of Sun Kil Moon , makes an ‘April’ return. Now with added Will Oldham.
Ah, Springtime. What can you say about this time of year? There’s a lovely stretch in the evenings. Newborn lambs are skipping merrily through lush green fields while bright yellow daffodils sway gently in the breeze. Rebirth. Regeneration. Renewal. A time to smile and be happy and rejoice that the dark, cold hand of winter has finally lost its grip. The hope of summer and the beginning of better times. So, what better way to usher in this wonderful time of year than to acquiant yourself with a brand new album from arch-miserabilist Mark Kozelek with its tales of fear and loathing, failed relationships, relentless disappointment and existential ennui! Hooray! I’m joking, of course.
Seriously though, Kozelek is probably the most criminally underrated singer-songwriter of this generation, and is quite possibly a genius. The former Red House Painter has a new album out called, appropriately enough, ‘April’ and incredibly, after almost two decades of releasing classic albums with the Painters, as a solo artist, or with his current incarnation, Sun Kil Moon, it is his best yet. The usual motifs of Kozelek’s songsmithery are all here- the sprawling, almost improvisational guitar epics, the ghostly, forlorn vocal delivery, the piercing lyrical couplets that shame most other lyricists with their clarity of meaning. How about this from ‘Moorestown’ ‘My thoughts will pause, my throat will swell/When her name is spoken’ or ‘Walking down the unlit hallway of life, there is hope, I know’ from ‘Unlit Hallway’. (It will come as no surprise a book of his lyrics ‘Nights Of passed Over’ has recently been published) It is easy to dismiss Kozelek as ‘depressing’ and many people do. But that is to be completely blind to the ravishing, exquisite beauty of the music he dreams up so effortlessly, music that is not bleak but actually full of hope. It is all in evidence, yet again, on the rare thing of beauty that is ‘April’.