Mark Kozelek's Sun Kil Moon is this months G-Man Artist of the Month.
July 2010 has seen the release of Admiral Fell Promises, the bands fourth studio album.
I use the word "band" lightly as Admiral Fell Promises is more a Mark Kozelek solo recording with the emphasis heavily placed on a lone Spanish-guitar. A disappointment for some as previous albums such as Ghosts of the Great Highway were seen as more of a return to the Red House Painter-style of songwriting (with Anthony Koutsos returning to drumming duties) which was a strong trademark of the RHP sound.
In saying that Kozelek has never been a man to bow or even pay the slightest attention to public/critical opinion as has been seen in the past with his first eagerly-awaited solo release a record comprised completely of AC/DC covers (See What's Next To The Moon a tutorial in how to completely deconstruct a song taken from one genre and rebuild in another) and a Sun Kil Moon recording - Tiny Cities consisting of just Modest Mouse numbers).
Admiral Fell Promises is not an album that explodes with an electric guitar riff or lulls the listener in with a mesmerizing drum beat and to be honest a hummable chorus is pretty non-existent. Some may see all these points as negatives but for those of us who have been listening to Kozelek a little longer than most will know that if a Red House Painters/Mark Kozelek/Sun Kil Moon album does not strike you at first, be patient and persevere as everything that pours out of this man is pure gold once you take the time to wash away what first may seem like mud.
Alesund opens the album with a ninety-second solo introduction to the previously mentioned Spanish guitar, an instrument with which the listener will soon become very well acquainted. Bravery is a cornerstone of quality songwriting. The first three or four minutes of an album consisting of single-tracked vocal and a solitary guitar is as brave as you get these days but also perfectly shines a spotlight on the gentle backing vocals that appear at the end of the opening track not to mention allowing the lyrics and melody do the hard work.
Half Moon Bay arrives in similar style this time with a slightly more intricate guitar introduction and by the end of the track we are already nearly thirteen minutes into the album. This duration does not let up with the ten-track album clocking in at over an hour is, for such a sparsely-recorded L.P., a risk in itself.
Three/four listens in and this is evidently not the case. Highlights include the opening track Alesund, You Are My Sun and Admiral Fell Promises itself.
Another winner from Kozelek. It may take more time and effort to find your way through the album in its entirety compared to other RHP/Solo/SKM releases but it is worth the effort. Believe me....
Admiral Fell Promises is currently available to stream via the Sun Kil Moon official myspace.