It’s been a long time since an album has torn me up this badly.
Mark Kozalek, the singer-guitarist behind Sun Kil Moon, has been making moody, nylon-string guitar driven folk songs for a while now, and has released a substantial number of albums that are worth checking out, but never, never has he made anything this stark, beautiful, and utterly devastating.
Benji, an album wholly about death, is not something you can put on casually, in the background. The stories contained within take on a life of their own, screaming out for your attention, your concern. It is written as if the literary curtain that often acts as a buffer between artist and audience has been torn clean, bringing you face to face with the realities of the artist’s life. It is conversational yet through repetition it takes on the mystical aura of a folk tale.
It’s an album you should listen to, in both the literal and figurative sense. Most of all, it is an album that deserves time and rewards it immensely.