Admiral Fell PromisesAlbum | Sun Kil Moon By Stewart Mason
The perfect soundtrack for a rainy night alone.
Since the late '90s dissolution of Red House Painters, Mark Kozelek has led two parallel careers as an acoustic solo artist and the leader of the electrified quartet Sun Kil Moon. Admiral Fell Promises breaks with both of those traditions: it's a Kozelek solo recording released under the Sun Kil Moon name, but it's unlike anything the singer-songwriter has ever released in any of his guises. Playing a nylon-string classical guitar, Kozelek here favors delicate, cyclical finger-picked melodies: many tracks begin or end with extended instrumental interludes that showcase a grace and fluidity that sounds inspired by both the Spanish flamenco masters and '60s folkies like Davy Graham and Peter Walker, and will come as a surprise to anyone who still thinks of Kozelek only in terms of Red House Painters' shimmer-and-drone aesthetic. But while Admiral Fell Promises presents Kozelek in a new and different musical context, it features his trademark songwriting in its purest and most distilled form: lyrics and song titles directly evocative of his adopted hometown of San Francisco, mixed with an unshakeable air of romantic melancholy slightly leavened by the occasional self-effacing joke. His familiar near-whisper of a voice, which sometimes sounds diffident or even bored in more energetic settings, feels downright intimate here, even in the passages where he overdubs his own harmonies.