Jesu/Sun Kil Moon
Jesu/Sun Kil Moon


1.5
very poor

Review

by Finn Baker USER (43 Reviews)
January 17th, 2016 | 41 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The moping of a 48-year-old man who never really matured past 20.

When 2016 started, I made a few goals for myself. One of those goals was to actively search for new music from more popular artists. That was the only reason I found this album. I had never heard the music of Jesu or Sun Kil Moon before. I thought this album was worth a shot, because of its 80-minute length, and it seemed like these songs were just standing by themselves. The album is self-titled, and the page on which one could stream the album has hardly anything on it, except for a black-and-white banner and small text. There's nothing to get in the way between the music and listeners. I was excited to listen to this, because the way it was presented seemed so intriguing.

Despite being so fascinated by it, nothing could save this album for me.

If one were to skip around on this album, and just listen to the first minute or so of each track, they would probably be entertained. That's because those brief moments are the only parts where this album works at all. Every one of those musical ideas quickly goes down the drain, as each one of them is dragged on for up to 14 minutes. Yes, the last track on here is an obscene 14 minutes long. That would be okay if the song told an intricate story of some sort, or if it was dynamic in any way. But it doesn't and it isn't. Imagine a two-chord progression, with the same drum loop and one guy just reading disjointed thoughts on a notepad. For 14 minutes. That's what this song sounds like. It's hard to go into what this song is about in the first place. He mentions watching boxing matches with his friend, going to a corner market and buying water. He mentions restringing his guitar and, later, seeing his girlfriend for dinner. What's the point of mentioning any of that? Does anyone really care about what the singer's schedule is? Can we even call him a singer? 90% of this song, Mark Kozelek is mumbling with no discernible melody.

That was all part of the last song on this album, Beautiful You. It's meant to be a peaceful, relaxing song. If we were to go back to the first three songs on this album, we'd find something different. Although all three match the same pace of the last song, they feature distorted guitars and a live drum set, instead of synthesizer chords and sequenced percussion with a low-pass filter. But these songs are the same, strung-out patterns that every song on this album has. It's like the guitarist of the bands on this album lost the highest four strings on their instruments and hoped no-one would notice.

I don't enjoy listening to any song on this album in its entirety. But one of the songs I appreciate the most is 'Last Night I Rocked The Room...'. It's the first electronic song on this album. There are more than two chords repeated throughout the 8-minute duration, which is a blessing. Not only that, but the drums on here have varying elements. But even with those hardly-exciting qualities, it's the same rambling from Kozelek that we get on every other song on this album. The worst part, by far, is the last quarter of this song. He just decides to read a letter from a fan in Singapore, and decides that this fan is now "the core writer of the song". There's no point in doing that, which Kozelek acknowledges. But even then, he does it again on another song, called America's Most Wanted Mark Kozelek And John Dillinger. That idea, of reading letters from fans, gets stale incredibly quickly.

I get it. People want personal albums. Sometimes people appreciate droning music like this, and most fans want their favorite artists to be open with their music and make music for themselves. However, this is probably not the way to do it. Don't make an 80-minute long album that sounds like you and a couple friends had a jam session while you read your diary entries from the past few months. Unless that's what the fans of Jesu and Sun Kil Moon want. In which case, congratulations. You have another perfect album.



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user ratings (108)
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
larrytheslug (3.5)
The best of both worlds, mirrored. First you rock out the show, then chill out and take it slow....



Comments:Add a Comment 
Lavair
January 17th 2016


949 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I'm fully prepared for whatever negs you have for me. If this is what Sun Kil Moon normally does, I'm sorry for not understanding them. But that's not going to change the fact that this album is so boring to me.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
January 17th 2016


46520 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I agree the 'Mark Kozelek Reads from the Fans' segments are cringey as all fuck but the rest of this had potential. Exodus is a great song

Lavair
January 17th 2016


949 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Yeah, it had potential. I know that these bands both have talent, but I still think that talent expires so quickly in each song.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
January 17th 2016


46520 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yup slice each song in half and you've got a great album. I don't know Jesu but Kozelek has always had a problem with trimming although in the RHP days it didn't matter cos it was all gold

Kman418
January 17th 2016


13271 Comments


when normies think 14 minute songs are long

Lavair
January 17th 2016


949 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I edited some parts of the review.

A 14-minute song is quite long, in this context. I've heard some 20 to 30-minute long songs, even 48-minute songs that I've enjoyed. Beautiful You hardly ever varies, though. It seems like the song wants to be interesting, but it's just so hard for that song to be captivating.

Kman418
January 17th 2016


13271 Comments


listen to earth 2 bro

Jots
Staff Reviewer
January 17th 2016


7417 Comments


@kman - "in this context"

also @arcade - the "don't start sentences with conjunctions" rule is outdated. and misleading. there are cases where it's fine.

Ocean of Noise
January 17th 2016


10935 Comments


listened to two minutes of this and it was pretty bad

like the two styles do not mix well at all

Jots
Staff Reviewer
January 17th 2016


7417 Comments


it's "frowned upon" but most of today's "proper" grammar was, at one point, frowned upon by what preceded it. language changes. and this is music journalism, so we can use language (a tool for communication) liberally enough so long as the point is communicated. so whatev

Jots
Staff Reviewer
January 17th 2016


7417 Comments


like, sometimes you can do something unorthodox for a certain desired effect.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
January 17th 2016


46520 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

fair call johnny but I'm unsure if the writer of this review was thinking "gonna deliberately begin this sentence with 'but' for the effect"

Lavair
January 17th 2016


949 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I try to write things like I'm speaking them. When I speak, I tend to begin sentences with "and" and "but".

Jots
Staff Reviewer
January 17th 2016


7417 Comments


I wasn't necessarily vouching for the review - just a general thang

Ocean of Noise
January 17th 2016


10935 Comments


Agreed. As long as the meaning comes across and it looks presentable, who cares?

cleanpeter
January 17th 2016


121 Comments


Please feature!

ScuroFantasma
Emeritus
January 17th 2016


11825 Comments


Kinda poor review, comes across like a conversation which I didn't really understand until your last comment. I'd try to move away from writing reviews the way you'd talk, they're different tones and audiences for both so what comes across naturally in speech seems lazy in a review.

Might check this but I think I'd feel similiraly to you, not my thing.

DoofusWainwright
January 17th 2016


19991 Comments


As much as I like both artists I'm a little worried about this one, feel I'm close to reaching Kozelek saturation point...

PappyMason
January 17th 2016


5702 Comments


That idea, of reading letters from fans, gets stale incredibly quickly.

Yeah, I'd definitely agree with that. And it's true, the album does drag in some places.
Generally speaking though, I enjoyed the overall sound of this. I should probably give it another spin.

RustCohle
January 17th 2016


395 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

A huge fan of Jesu and Godflesh, but the Sun Kil Moon guy kills this record and makes it unlistenable....



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