This joint album from Sun Kil Moon and Jesu is the strangest and most natural of collaborations. The groups have different methods (Justin K Broadrick with abrasive post-metal and Mark Kozelek with acoustic ballads and dark wit) but on America's Most Wanted these combine alongside bleak textures and melancholy guitars. This CD album on Rough Trade and Caldo Verde Records also has an all-star cast of indie icons, from Bonnie "Prince" Billy, to Rachel Goswell of Slowdive.
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I woke up this morning at eight forty five am to an alarm ringing off pretty loudly and I thought wow I haven’t got time for this and the note that came with it read “have some coffee before you get up” and I thought about how I never make the time to do that and as I flushed the toilet next to my bedroom I was struck by sadness about the daily routine and the way it comes about so I flushed the toilet again because it only ever flushes half the way and while we should do something about that we never have and so I flushed it again and it didn’t work out so I left it at that and thought “fuck it I’ll leave that one to my housemates” and went to watch an old rerun of Fraser instead, one of the episodes where the dad's being a grouch but gosh they love him anyway and though I felt kinda guilty about it I knew that later that day I’d be listening to Sun Kil Moon and they’d be going through their days just the same
and when Clint handed me the CD I could hardly believe it the Jesu guy and Mark Kozelek together at last my two teenage heroes creating sweet musical fusion together only I hate Mark Kozelek these days frankly so I wasn’t sure how to feel about it especially since he can’t even be bothered to sing loudly enough to not be drowned out by the Jesu guy’s riffs and I wondered actually isn’t this project kind of indicative of the internet’s glorious and dangerous ability to connect any musician to any other musician at the clap of a hands and would this collaboration ever have come about if Mark hadn’t become so prolific after the whole self-aggrandizing Pitchfork 9.1 of Benji an album that frankly doesn’t match up to the spec of our fallen favourite artist’s older work and metal riffs aside isn’t this just the same narrative driven bullshit we’ve been fed for three years and who co-signed this whole earnest sincere stream-of-consciousness stuff and whose line is it anyway
and as Mark began reading a fan letter or randomly relating some death or another to his own life to his daily routine I thought surely he can’t get away with this but little did I know he was gonna do it again a few tracks later and there’s no clearer sign of the times than a Sun Kil Moon album that Clint is willingly shutting out by putting on headphones while it plays in the office, an office with a sum total of about seven staff members, usually five on any given day, Ian Laurie Phil and Nathon I love them so much just like my dad I wonder how he’s doing I should phone him and how did this album get arranged exactly, did they perform together or did the Jesu guy just record a bunch of nice metallic riffs and drums and then send them as attachments, probably .mp3s to Kozelek who sang all over them kinda like Morrisey ruining Johnny Marr’s instrumentals as Clint pointed out earlier well I guess that’s not entirely true cause there are some nice arrangements on here that sound like Sun Kil Moon songs like “Fragile” I guess that’s a pretty good name for the track but wait no wait up everyone I gotta go to the toilet real quick, I guess you could say the best moments on this album are the ones where the album goes instrumental and it sounds like Mark Kozelek’s taken a toilet break himself, shucks, how about that
8/10 Brian 12th April 2016
I wasn't at all surprised when this release was announced. Mark sang about this throughout "Universal Themes," showing his relationship with Broadrick by attending his Godflesh show. Kozelek has also released a Jesu EP and LP on his Caldo Verde site, which shows the roots of their friendship.
Jesu's crunchy and drone guitars do not mix with Kozelek's storytelling, but it's really interesting. The softer tracks like "Exodus" and "Beautiful You" are the highlights of the record, while the others feel like filler songs. Kozelek's storytelling only gets better as each album goes on, so this is definitely a great listen to catch up on Mark's life.
I have to make a separate review for the song "Beautiful You" because it's the best song that Mark has written since "Carry Me, Ohio." Clocking in at 14 minute long ambient piece of music from Justin with Mark narrating his diary entries over it. This sounds like a track that could've fit on his 2013 collaboration with Jimmy LaValle, "Perils From the Sea."
This is a great record; it's not as enjoyable as the other stuff on Jesu or SKM's catalog, but it's definitely worth a listen, especially for "Beautiful You."
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