Sun Kil Moon | April (Caldo Verde)

cd_sunkilmoon.jpgYou pretty much know what you’re in for after the astoundingly good first track, "Lost Verses," which is eight or so minutes long but is elegant in a way that is hard to describe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lot of times when it’s rainy and cool and I have a lot of work to do, one of my favorite things is to put on a CD and, you know, get some work done. But the damn things are so short! I have plenty of good winter music and good summer music, but very little in the way of good rainy-spring-day music. Lately, we’ve been having a lot of rainy spring days.

Ah, but now there’s Sun Kil Moon’s new one, April, and it fits the bill quite nicely. Hell, it’s named after the month during which it will find the most time in my player. SKM is the brainchild of Red House Painters’ Mark Kozelek, who by this time knows how to make a nice, quiet, melancholy CD. To be fair, I’ve never been quite as rabid for the Painters as a lot of people I know, but given that, April is my favorite work of Kozelek’s to date.

Granted, someone for whom I am quite rabid, Will Oldham, sings occasional backup on this disc, which is what enticed me in the first place. Uncle Willie has been overextending himself lately — a similar backup gig on Scout Niblett’s recent This Fool Can Die Now didn’t turn out too well — but his work here is calm and spare enough to compliment the record in the way that was presumably intended.

Although April is long and slow and most of the songs sound kind of samey, that is really its appeal, at least to me. It’s 11 tracks and 74 minutes long, so you don’t have to do much math to figure out that these are some pretty long songs. You pretty much know what you’re in for after the astoundingly good first track, "Lost Verses," which is eight or so minutes long but is elegant in a way that is hard to describe. However, the best of these almost epically lengthed songs is "Heron Blue," which is a perfect example of the drifty guitar and plaintive vocals to which Kozelek is so well attuned, with Oldham meeting him about halfway through in one of the prettiest melodies I’ve heard in the past couple years.

I like to think Kozelek made this CD exclusively for the purposes I just described: it’s named April, it’s long and pleasant, it was released on April 1; it’s custom-made for rainy days and getting a lot of work done without having to get up every half hour to put on another CD. What’s more is that April comes packaged with a second disc of alternate takes of a handful of tracks on the album (said disc was not included with the review copy, so I can’t attest to its relative merits), so you can be listening to this stuff all damn day, which is pretty much exactly what I want to do. | Pete Timmermann

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