alternative americana

Sun Kil Moon: Common As Light And Love Are Red Valleys Of Blood

22.8.17



Say what you will about Mark Kozelek, his persona, what some people label as rudeness and all the accusations against him that have to do with sexism and with him generally being a kind of an asshole, but the man is a fascinating artist to watch. While so deep into his excellent career as a musician, Kozelek's ability to emerge with incredible, creative and beautiful albums in so little time is really fascinating, and that is something that applies to all aspects of his creativity: the Sun Kil Moon albums, his collaborations with Jesu and the straight up Mark Kozelek ones. After all, Mark has always seemed true and dedicated to his craft, and according to his own affirmation through the lyrics of Early June Blues, a track off his new Sun Kil Moon record: "Playing music is my life / Food and water and music is what I need to stay alive."

Red House Painters' notoriety has reached a legendary status even with the band being inactive for many years, but what started as Kozelek's new guise in 2003 with that incredible debut, Ghosts Of The Great Highway, did not seem to get enough of the mainstream critics' attention, until 2014, when Sun Kil Moon caught a second wind with the release of the universally acclaimed, Benji, a dark and pensive record which was very warmly received by the press as well as the fans.

Common As Light And Love Are Red Valleys Of Blood finds Sun Kil Moon still in a state of existential anxiety, only much more aware of it, looser and more in terms with its creator's despair and mortality. The songs' narratives keep getting more verbose and more self-centered, but at the same time they get to be better detailed and more moderately jocular and evocative of the writer's intricate frame of mind.

In over two hours Kozelek attempts to cover the disaster of a year that was 2016 both for him individually as well as for the general public through topics like Trump, terrorist attacks, the transgender bathroom laws, the disappearance of the Malaysian flight, serial killers, and he's not reluctant to speak his mind about his contempt towards millenials and their relationships with their phones. As he approaches the age of fifty, Kozelek appears steadfast about his opinions and practices his right to get even grumpier and more talkative about whatever troubles his bustling brain, and he accomplishes that through both the wordiness of his lyrics as well as the tuneful beauty of his extra long compositions.

Common As Light And Love is in plain words a worthy addition to Sun Kil Moon's already impressive catalog, and despite its extensiveness, it is a fascinating listen, and through it Kozelek's indifference about the public's opinion of him seems candid on top of charming and thoroughly enjoyable.









ZR

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