Sun Kil Moon – Benji

Mark Kozelek had a pretty good year in 2013 with both his collaboration albums with Jimmy Lavalle and DesertShore making most respectable peoples end of year lists, now he returns as Sun Kil Moon with another great album ‘Benji’. Something of a follow on of sorts from ‘Perils from the Sea’ it is once again a collection of songs that allows Kozelek to get across his rambling tales. If you are familiar with his previous work you will pretty much know what to expect here, Kozelek has found a delivery style he likes and he’s sticking to it. Sparse guitars create the backdrop for the stories and although the album is dogged by mortality it also still has Kozelek’s pockets of humour ‘I went to a sports bar, full of sports bar shit’. Death casts a veil over the majority of the record as Kozelek tries to understand the loss of family and friends and thinking ahead to losing his parents and of course his own future, ‘I Can’t Live Without My Mother’s Love’ and ‘I Love My Dad’ being two of the most personal songs he has ever written. ‘Jim Wise’ is the story of a man who mercy killed his wife and after a failed suicide attempt is on trial for her murder, it is touching and told with such compassion that its gut wrenchingly heart-breaking. ‘Micheline’ is a stand out 10 minute track, album closer ‘Ben’s my Friend’ has some cheeky trumpet and ‘Richard Ramirez Died Today of Natural Causes’ experiments with double off kilter vocals. But no matter what the style of each composition it’s the characters that live on the album and the way a master storyteller brings them all to life (and death) that will keep you coming back for more.


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