There have been a lot of times I have missed reviewing an album upon its release. Most of the time, if that happened, I just ended up ignoring a write-up for the album, even if I liked it. For those few times, however when the album I missed reviewing is something that I ended up loving. Well, I make sure that I get to spotlight it. This is my review of Sun Kil Moon‘s Benji, only about a month late.
Sun Kil Moon is the musical project of Ohio-born, San Francisco-based Mark Kozelek. The band used to be a trio but for the last few years, Kozelak has been using the moniker to produce and write his self-recordings. Though Sun Kil Moon initially used to produce songs that are poetic and grand, a shift started during 2012’s Among The Leaves. Kozelek, who is now currently 47, started writing about mortality.
Benji, Sun Kil Moon‘s latest and sixth record is all about mortality. Here, we hear Kozelek’s dry, wry observations about the sadness and passing of life, hummed over low guitar strums. Though Benji is depressing in a lot of ways, there is also a sense of contentment. Kozelek sings lovingly about his dad and about his good and famous friend Ben Gibbard. The songs are observational and autobiographical, sung from the heart of Kozelek channeled to our souls as we listen. And that’s what makes Benji so good – it’s ability to make us feel empathy with Kozelek as he shows us the byways of his life. Depressing never felt so good.
Listen to Kozelek’s ode to Gibbard, Ben’s My Friend embedded below.
Sun Kil Moon – Benji comes out 2/11 via Caldo Verde (order here)