Mark Kozelek & Jimmy Lavalle
Perils from the Sea


2.5
average

Review

by Lucid CONTRIBUTOR (17 Reviews)
May 11th, 2013 | 38 replies | 4,240 views


Release Date: 04/30/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A tepid work with a thoughtful heart, one vaguely beating behind mumbles and programmed beats.

Perils from the Sea is a collaboration that is constructed simply, and describing it is even simpler: imagine the slowcore of Red House Painters evoked with a ”folktronica” backdrop, a moody foundation over which Mark Kozelek provides voiceovers of his life’s mundanities. Jimmy LaValle has schemed out a fresh setting for Kozelek’s storytelling here – tinkering beats, ominous synthlines, sullen guitar chords – yet the result is frustratingly humdrum. He commits to slowcore at the expense of active engagement, as elements are rendered linearly with an inbuilt resistance to change. But it will work for some listeners: fans of Red House Painters will appreciate the nod to that era in Kozelek’s history, on the condition that they are open to LaValle’s laptop electronics. Everyone else will have to endure the stiffness of this minimalistic do-over, eight minutes at a time. Expect patience to be tested, regardless of which camp you fall in.

The shift in Kozelek’s outlook on making music has been disheartening and is forcefully so on this album. Where the folk musician once labored on his songwriting, passionately weaving arrangements on Ghosts… and April, he effectively retired on Among the Leaves, dryly mocking his career in songs that self-effaced as often as they self-referenced. Now he’s released Perils from the Sea, which features barely any songwriting at all: stories are recited as if they are spoken word, tracks concluding at the end of the lyric sheet. Simple melodies steer the words in rhythm, and the tracks plod along from there, LaValle matching the nonchalance with the unshifting backdrop. The silky croons of April that harmonized tenderly with melodic guitarwork are long gone: Kozelek now mumbles through his stories with unnerving disregard.

I guess it’s to his favor that his narratives are interesting when they catch the ear: “Gustavo” details companionship with an illegal immigrant, support that is reluctantly cut after the man is deported. “I hung up and my heart was heavy,” Kozelek confesses, as he chillingly recollects Gustavo’s request for a money transfer through a payphone south of the border. Tuning into Kozelek’s words is fruitful, but they are often lost to dreary presentation. That this artist has lost faith in songwriting lets down his penned material, one of the more depressing acknowledgements to be had with Perils from the Sea. Overall, this collaboration feels lukewarm, the product of exchanged emails rather than a wholehearted connection between two artists. I hope dearly that Kozelek regains faith in his music; I’ve unfortunately had to let go of mine in his.



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user ratings (22)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
May 11th 2013



7021 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

An actual negative review this time.

Digging: Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 11th 2013



23798 Comments


will read/agree with when I am no longer hammered



Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 11th 2013



23798 Comments


and if you want
to see me cry
play Let it Be
or Nevermind

Ponton
Emeritus
May 11th 2013



5784 Comments


no

scissorlocked
May 11th 2013



3508 Comments


I thought this was good...

nice review btw!

Digging: John Roberts - Ausio

AndyDigital
May 11th 2013



6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well written but couldn't disagree more. However, I just found Kozelek through this music so I am not
seeing this through the lens of his prior work.

Edit: PS I'm not the neg...haha

Maniac!
May 11th 2013



26246 Comments


Why was this negged? It's a good review

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
May 11th 2013



21575 Comments


I like the first two songs. Don't know about the rest

(pos)

Digging: Septicflesh - Communion

jeremologyy
May 11th 2013



263 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I really like this, and I am a big fan of Kozelek and Sun Kil Moon and Red House Painters. i think it's a great album with some of his best storytelling yet.

klap
Staff Reviewer
May 11th 2013



10258 Comments


nice dude

Digging: The Bilinda Butchers - Heaven

TheNexus100
May 11th 2013



2499 Comments


mark is awful now

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
May 11th 2013



7021 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I seem to be in the minority with disliking this, so it's likely still worth a listen.

oldsoul
May 12th 2013



72 Comments


I'm still making up my mind about this - great review though.

Digging: Fair - The Best Worst-Case Scenario

joshuatree
Emeritus
May 12th 2013



3743 Comments


yeah this album pretty much sucks

Gyromania
May 12th 2013



15199 Comments


Rating is exactly right. Solid work as per usual man

robin
Emeritus
May 12th 2013



4241 Comments


this album.... just... odd. e-mail music.

kitsch
May 12th 2013



5107 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ali u know i like you but i think our tastes are inverses of one another

This is easily one of his freshest and best albums. The minimalism is put to perfect use. There is just as much imagination here, youre just not attuned to hear it. Its more subtle, but its def not the lazy affair you make it out to be. I think it takes more effort to craft an album like this than april. Its not immediately accessible and sometimes it runs in place, but that is exactly what makes it so beautiful

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 12th 2013



14987 Comments


"There is just as much imagination here, youre just not attuned to hear it."

lol kitsch literally all of your opinions on albums are predicated upon people who don't like it being Plebeians or w/e. if you're going to try to spin it as objective back this up or something

kitsch
May 12th 2013



5107 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hes obv not attuned to hear it or he would have heard it duh

kitsch
May 12th 2013



5107 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Anthropic theory bitch



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