Following on from a string of releases under his own name, including solo albums, live albums and a number of collaborations, musician and song-writer Mark Kozelek returns to the Sun Kil Moon moniker for the release of their sixth album ‘Benji’. The new album sees Mark Kozelek once again singing from the heart about personal issues and complex ideas, this time backed up by a number of guest musicians including a number of musicians from Sonic Youth. ‘Benji’ comes across as another personally complex album that simply features Mark Kozelek doing what he does best when it comes to music. Writing and singing from deep within and presenting it in an easily understandable and accessible way.
In many ways, ‘Benji’ seems to follow on from Sun Kil Moon’s previous release of ‘Among The Leaves’, though the addition of backing singers and performers helps add a little bit of weight to Kozelek’s music. Everything seems to come together brilliantly on ‘Benji’, which features some of Kozelek’s best songs to date, and some of his most accessible. There’s a wonderful natural theme to the whole album, that comes across as effortless and easy, though still interesting and complex. It’s a wonderful talent on Kozelek’s, and one he executes in perfect fashion with many of his releases. There seems to be a lot happening on ‘Benji’, mostly in terms of the themes and stories being expressed by Kozelek, though it all comes across as one strong and enjoyable album package.
The only disappointing elements on ‘Benji’ is how the album doesn’t seem to return to the areas that ‘Lost Verses’ and ‘Ghosts Of The Great Highway’ delved into. In many ways we’re presented with another typical Kozelek record that features complex guitar melodies and croaking vocals and little else. Many of the tracks on ‘Benji’ seem to follow the same instrumental formula, and there’s little variation in terms of how the songs actually sound at their most basic (as was present on ‘Among The Leaves’). At times, it feels like one wishes that Kozelek would really support his songs with some brilliant backing instrumentals to give it more edge.
Although ‘Benji’ is perhaps another typical Kozelek record, it still comes across as one of his best records, as it is simply what Kozelek does easily and best. There’s something about song-writing which comes naturally to Kozelek, and it is always a delight to hear him come out with the most gorgeous and intricate of lyrics and acoustic guitar melodies. There’s a number of tracks on ‘Benji’ which come across as some of Kozelek’s best, giving the album more of an edge than ‘Among The Leaves’ could ever have hoped to achieve. Once again, Kozelek has pulled off his own intricate and gorgeous style in such effortless fashion, making ‘Benji’ another delightful album experience to indulge in.
- ★★★★☆ 4/5
- I Love My Dad
- I Watched The Film The Song Remains The Same
- Ben’s My Friend
Sun Kil Moon’s sixth album ‘Benji’ is out now.