Sun Kil Moon: Among the Leaves
Sun Kil Moon: Among the Leaves– I will forever be a sucker for an acoustic guitar. There is something so basic about the uninhibited sound it creates that makes it so hard to ignore. Stripped down and predominantly played on nylon string guitar, Among the Leaves, is deceivingly one of Sun Kil Moon’s most light-hearted albums. Formed in 2002 after the dissipation of Mark Kozelek’s former band, Red House Painters, Among the Leaves is Sun Kil Moon’s fifth studio album release. Started in San Francisco, Mark Kozelek provides the writing, composing, singing, and guitar playing; accompanied when necessary by Geoff Stanfield on bass, Anthony Koutsos and Tim Mooney (who died on June 15) on drums.
Mark Kozelek has the kind of voice that exudes sadness; that you can feel in your soul. Regardless of the subject matter he is singing about, there is always an austere twinge ever so slightly apparent. You can almost picture him sitting in a dark recording studio, guitar in hand, singing his heart out, feeling every song to his core. That is why Among the Leaves is such a welcome departure from the usual depressive muttering, not to discredit earlier works. Despite the ever-present sombre tone of Mark Kozelek’s voice, this album comes off as almost playful in a sense, some of its songs even inherently silly, but true to form it is autobiographical in nature. Mark Kozelek sings of ever-present unrequited love, ‘I know It’s Pathetic But That Was the Greatest Night of My Life,’ pays tribute to his guitar repairman, ‘Song for Richard Collopy,’ and describes his offhand approach to songwriting, ‘Track Number 8.’
Seventeen tracks and surpassing the hour mark, Among the Leaves is no small accomplishment. It is one of the longest albums I have heard in a while, yet each song seems necessary to the album as a whole. The inherent ebbs and flows existent in most albums is still present, but this album is complete with sweeping emotional tiers, taking you from the highest highs: “when each night ends another perfect day” (Not Much Rhymes with Everything’s Awesome at All Time) to the lowest lows: “what kind of man travels and sings, no kids no food to bring home, ” (That Bird has a Broken Wing) and vulnerability can be felt throughout. The title track, ‘Among the Leaves,’ appears more than halfway through the record and includes some of my favorite lyrics: “when evening comes I play guitar for the planets and the stars…there’s always room for you there.”
Complete with stunningly beautiful melodies and bitterly honest catharsis, Among the Leaves is unquestionably an eclectic compilation that apologizes for nothing and deserves your undivided attention…9.0/10