Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Sun Kil Moon

  • Benji [Caldo Verde, 2014] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Benji [Caldo Verde, 2014]
Mark Kozelek has always been one more alt-rock sad sack to me, and without much a beat at that, so I won't pretend there's any musical reason to listen to this wall-to-wall bummer. But where he's generally obsessed on an alt-rock melancholy about which most human beings could care less, here he explores something that happens to everyone: death in the family, mostly in working-class Ohio, where he grew up. There's his second cousin Carissa gone at 35 in a freak garbage fire, his uncle gone the same way long ago, his kindly grandma in L.A., and worst of all his dad's pseudonymous mercy-killing friend--who with his wife taken out of her misery turned the gun on himself only then "failed at suicide" and got sentenced to prison. All of which induces him to write "I Love My Dad" and "I Can't Live Without My Mother's Love," and whether you're attracted to his songs or not you feel just how bad this depressive is gonna hurt when his long-separated parents go. That's musical enough for me. B+