Release Date: Jan 22, 2016
Record label: Rough Trade
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
What does ‘rekindle’ mean, anyway? It’s a question that bounces around Mark Kozelek’s brain in the nascent state of his latest project, distracting him from a familiar stream of consciousness as Justin Broadrick heaps sludge on top. This is Kozelek’s Sun Kil Moon doing what Sun Kil Moon does and Broadrick’s Jesu doing what Jesu does. For the most part, it’s that simple, the effect almost as if a fan of both acts mashed them together into one mix, unafraid of the mess it might make.
On Last Night I Rocked the Room Like Elvis and Had Them Laughing Like Richard Pryor, Mark Kozelek recounts the day June 13 2015, blow for blow, including trying to call his sister on her birthday (she eventually picks up) and reading a review online (“Pitchfork gave me a ‘6’”). He continues to read fanmail from Singapore slamming the British press reaction to a notorious London show last year. With this, we may have reached peak Kozelek.
Mark Kozelek opens his newest Sun Kil Moon album, a collaboration with Justin Broadrick working as Jesu, by saying "good morning" before taking us through a number of his days and nights. It's a romantic collection of songs, as well as a tender and sad one, but this time around Kozelek sounds less alone. Even when he has a full band, it can feel like he's playing a guitar by himself in a room, but Jesu/Sun Kil Moon comes off like a true collaboration.
Jesu have always been one of the most badass, underrated acts around. Hearing them shift things up with Sun Kil Moon (Mark Kozelek) is quite an experience given how quaint and unconventional the latter's always been to me. His wordspeak emerges here as a recitation of his diary over the last couple years -- all stitched onto Jesu's layers of hardcore, post-hardcore, experimental and most notably, sludge (for fans of Floor and Torche).
Justin Broadrick and Mark Kozelek had been hinting at a collaboration for a long time before Jesu/Sun Kil Moon appeared on Kozelek's Caldo Verde Records in early 2016. Kozelek released Jesu's 2009 EP Opiate Sun and 2011 full-length Ascension, he covered Godflesh's "Like Rats" in 2013, and the opening track from Sun Kil Moon's 2015 album Universal Themes was centered around a story of Kozelek hanging out with Broadrick in San Francisco before witnessing an amazing Godflesh concert. The long-gestating collaboration finds Kozelek continuing the diary-like storytelling of his previous albums, recalling stories from his youth, reflecting on his family, and spending a lot of time remarking about the reception of his work from critics and fans.
Someone should send Paul McCartney a copy of Sun Kil Moon’s latest release — a blistering, yet thoughtful collaboration with Jesu (better known as Justin Broadrick, co-founder of industrial metal outfit Godflesh) — to prove that people still haven’t had enough of silly love songs. It’s gotten to the point that even Mark Kozelek seems like a romantic. No, really.
Mark Kozelek has officially abandoned all pretense. He's no longer a songwriter; he's a blogger with a beat. Even more than last year's Universal Themes, their extreme experiment in sonic stream of consciousness, Sun Kil Moon's latest album, a collaboration with ex-Godflesh frontman Justin Broadrick, a.k.a. Jesu, is a mishmash of largely amelodic storytelling, mostly about ostensible day-to-day mundanities, and barebones musical backing that sounds like it was cooked up in an NPR laboratory.