Mark Kozelek with Ben Boye and Jim White – Album Review by Killian Laher
Or another review of another Mark Kozelek-related release.
Even by Mark Kozelek’s standards this has been an extremely odd year. With this collaboration with Ben Boye and the Dirty Three’s Jim White, he releases his first album in WEEKS, and his fourth of the year. More than five hours of music in eight months! Sadly of late his musical direction has taken a turn for the worse: diary-style lyrics muttered in his bored-sounding voice over off-kilter groove based music. You’ll do well to get beyond opening track House Cat with such lyrics as “fuck this shit it’s horrible” and “Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump”. It’s probably the worst thing on this double album. After this we discover a new direction on the fourteen and a half minute Topo Gigio; cocktail piano jazz. You can imagine how Kozelek fits into this style, though he does at least sing most of this one rather than just bark the inane lyrics before emitting a rather odd sounds towards the end. The hip hop of Fur Balls is more cat-related nonsense and it’s about as good as you’d expect a song with such a title.
Elsewhere, the echoey guitars on Los Margaritos are quite good but Kozelek’s vocal delivery and banal lyrics leaves the song falling short, but it’s not a bad effort. Astronomy’s slow rolling guitars plod along pleasantly, even the vocals fit in with the song.
Blood Test stretches a dull Doors-y groove with some awful lyrics out for twelve minutes, an influence that seeps through into Ashes and The Black Butterfly.
Some of the instrumental passages are reasonably diverting, such as the eerie, haunting outro to the relatively muted piano jazz of February Rain. This song is relatively human sounding, a lament on a friend who passed away. Possibly a grower. But in general there’s not a lot here to reward the listener. Even the lyrics don’t merit repeat listens. Another release from Mark Kozelek which begs the question: where’s this all leading??
You can stream it here (flash required)
Track List –
1. House Cat
2. Topo Gigio
3. Fur Balls
4. Los Margaritos
6. Blood Test
8. February Rain
9. The Black Butterfly
10. The Robin Williams Tunnel