Review: Sun Kil Moon, ‘Among the Leaves’

Review: Sun Kil Moon, ‘Among the Leaves’: Aidin Vaziri | Are you ready to hear Mark Kozelek cut loose? Take a moment to think about it. For two decades, the San Francisco songwriter has been a dependable source of gloom, making the kind of music – particularly with his former band Red House Painters – that matched the dreary tone and dreamy tenor of the city’s gray skies. That ends with Sun Kil Moon’s fifth studio album, “Among the Leaves,” which was mostly recorded on a nylon-string guitar in just a few takes. The music is fundamentally laid back, the lyrics seemingly derived from the first thoughts that popped into his head. Kozelek offers observations on cats, neighborhood strolls and his travels around the world. There’s a tribute to his late guitar repairman, “Song for Richard Collopy,” that plays out like a Yelp review. One of the folksy tunes jostles with the title, “Not Much Rhymes With Everything’s Awesome at All Times.” Meanwhile, “Sunshine in Chicago” gives a glimpse into his tour diary: “My band in the ’90s played here a lot when we had lots of female fans and, f-, they were cute/ Now I just sign posters for guys in tennis shoes.” Still contemplating? Let’s offer this: His misery doesn’t run as deep as it used to, but his sense of melody is in full bloom and, occasionally, that old majestic melancholy shines through (“Young Love,” “Red Poison”).

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