Sun Kil Moon - April
Sun Kil Moon is the band led by Mark Kozelek, formerly of Red House Painters. April is technically Sun Kil Moon's third album but just the second that includes original material. 2005's Tiny Cities preceded April and was Kozelek's take on eleven Modest Mouse songs. The album was probably some of Kozelek's least affecting material. Which certainly came as a shock, especially considering how brilliant Kozelek's solo AC/DC covers album, What's Next To The Moon, was. So, in reality April follows up 2003's Ghosts Of The Great Highway which officially introduced Sun Kil Moon to the world.
If you thought Ghosts Of The Great Highway was sprawling (clocking in around an hour), April's 74 minute running time will redefine your definition. It's no surprise though. Kozelek is never one to rush his songs. Five of April's eleven tracks reach above the seven minute mark. With Kozelek, patience has always been a virtue needed as a listener. Kozelek's songs unfold slowly and effortlessly, never trying to force a feeling. They exist in that perfect, natural moment and that is what makes a great deal of his material so incredibly timeless. As a listener, if you patiently allow yourself to join him, well, chances are he's already won you over.
Kozelek has a remarkable way with tone. It is such a simple and useful tool for a singer/songwriter yet so many seem to never grasp the concept. Kozelek certainly does though. His expansive songs might move at a glacial pace but they enthrall with an inviting warmth and aching beauty. His lyrics are often haunting as they long for people and places that have sadly passed. In Kozelek's words, there is a great understanding of life, love and the forces that surround us all. April is the gentle push/pull of life at it's most fragile and longing.
Close to seven months after the album's original release I still find new things to love about April with each passing listen. Not only is April a definite contender for album of the year but it just might be the crowning achievement in Mark Kozelek's impressive discography. And for a guy who has released so many amazing records, the depth of that statement is truly remarkable. But whether you start with April or somewhere earlier in Kozelek's career is of no consequence to me. Just as long as you start somewhere.
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