Common as Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood

Album Review of Common as Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood by Sun Kil Moon.

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Common as Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood

Sun Kil Moon

Common as Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood by Sun Kil Moon

Release Date: Feb 24, 2017
Record label: Caldo Verde Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter

68 Music Critic Score
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Common as Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood - Fairly Good, Based on 8 Critics

Paste Magazine - 76
Based on rating 7.6/10
76

Mark Kozelek has always approached songwriting as if he's stepping into a confessional. But his albums from the '90s, mainly recorded with his band Red House Painters, sound like someone somewhat uncomfortable with baring his soul. As the years have worn on, and he's shed the more impenetrable elements from his work, Kozelek now feels like he's the kind of person who visits his priest just to shoot the shit, sins and all.

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Drowned In Sound - 70
Based on rating 7/10
70

For fans, there is no middle ground with Sun Kil Moon's recent artistic direction. One either wholeheartedly subscribes to Mark Kozelek's long-winded folk diatribes or entirely rejects them as inaccessible musical sermons. It seems like forever ago when his band released Benji, which received almost unanimous acclaim from critics for its deft ability to trapeze Kozelek's personal tribulations and more national concerns rather seamlessly.

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Drowned In Sound - 70
Based on rating 7/10
70

For fans, there is no middle ground with Sun Kil Moon's recent artistic direction. One either wholeheartedly subscribes to Mark Kozelek's long-winded folk diatribes or entirely rejects them as inaccessible musical sermons. It seems like forever ago when his band released Benji, which received almost unanimous acclaim from critics for its deft ability to trapeze Kozelek's personal tribulations and more national concerns rather seamlessly.

Full Review >>

Rolling Stone - 70
Based on rating 3.5/5
70

Three years after the resplendently sorrowful Benji - Mark Kozelek's apotheosis, 20 years in, as a songwriter-cum-barstool-storyteller - comes this 130-minute stream-of-conscious brain dump, delivered over dreamy grooves driven by ex-Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley. The obsessions (death, boxing, mass murder, indie-rock inside baseball) feel more obsessive; the diaristic style more diaristic ("May 28th, 12:58 A.M., 2016," he intones on "Butch Lullaby," a requiem for a fellow traveller). Sometimes it drags, hypnotically or solipsistically, then a line - about the Orlando shootings, or Bowie's death - snaps things back into dazzling, desperate, furious focus.

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AllMusic - 70
Based on rating 7/10
70

Following a full-length collaboration with Jesu (and directly preceding a second by a few months), Common as Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood is the first album credited solely to Sun Kil Moon since 2015's excellent Universal Themes. At over two hours long, it's easily one of Mark Kozelek's most ambitious undertakings yet -- or one of the most self-indulgent, depending on the listener's perspective. The album was edited from improvisations with former Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley, and other than a few bass or keyboard parts and saxophone on one song, Kozelek played all of the other instruments on the album.

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Sputnikmusic - 66
Based on rating 3.3/5
66

You gotta have a vague rock song in your catalog that everyone can sing along. It's difficult to assess the greatness of "War On Drugs: Suck My Cock" in retrospect, understanding that were it not for that humorous ode to, 'all you rednecks,' that can, 'shut the fuck up,' we wouldn't be in the position today of having to listen to Mark Kozelek transform his variety of miserable Americana into an avant-garde, dad rap fiasco. Although originally a one-off joke, Kozelek's curmudgeonly behaviour gave way to one of his best songs, fusing his downbeat, worn out folk to lyrics acting as an indictment of coastal liberalism's worst instincts.

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Pitchfork - 65
Based on rating 6.5/10
65

In retrospect, Sun Kil Moon 's 2014 milestone Benji was less of a breakthrough than a breakdown just before Mark Kozelek became definitively mean and petty. Even with Benji's life-flashing-before-your-eyes earnestness (the repentance! the forgiveness! the laughs! the tears!), its lessons seem to have gone unabsorbed . Common as Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood comes in at 130 minutes.

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Exclaim - 50
Based on rating 5/10
50

Sun Kil Moon has become like sitting in a car with Mark Kozelek and listening to him talk -- until either the gas runs out or you tuck and roll out the passenger door. For those who were turned off by Universal Themes and the Jesu splits, Common as Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood probably won't make the ride any more tolerable. But for those who have been enjoying his stream-of-consciousness lyrical style and day-in-the-life ramblings -- even as they stray further and further from what could be described as music -- his latest record offers the most exhaustive (and exhausting) probe yet into his life and mind.

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