This is ex Red House Painters man Mark Kozalek on simple, stripped-back good form, it’s also him at his most beautiful (musically, at least). Some lovely and sad stories of lost loves and places travelled, of missed opportunities and frustrations (like the Wedding Present you start to wonder is this all autobiographical?). Whoever the songs are about, or even addressed to, it does not affect the beauty and quality of the tunes though.
These are songs for everyone to enjoy, to take ownership. The almost Foxtrot flow of ‘The Moderately Talented’ gets followed by the faster, drowsy compression of ‘That Bird Has a Broken Wing’,– just two examples of exactly what Kozalek has in his creative locker. ‘King Fish’ has him actually bother to plug his guitar in and for this reason– good as it is– it kind of sits uneasy with the rest of the record. Still, some really nice and immediate songs here, and most recommended for either fan or newcomer.
As always with Sun Kil Moon, it may be a struggle to take so much melancholy and misty-eye in one go yet it’s worth having, if even to dip into for a track or three on occasion.