Sun Kil Moon: Benji (Spunk)

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Sun Kil Moon: Micheline (live)
Sun Kil Moon: Benji (Spunk)

Because I always thought Benji was the name of a dog I can't resist saying this: Benji is a dog of an album. And a damn dull self-obsessed dog at that.

Okay, it is emotionally naked, stories about burying uncles and dead second cousins, titles like I Can't Live Without My Mother's Love and I Love My Dad are here (alongside Ben's My Best Friend) . . . and just think about a low acoustic folk song entitled I Watched the Film of The Song Remains The Same (about going to see it as a kid and . . .)

Oh, jeez. The last album by growly baritone Mark Kozelek of Red House Painters was Among the Leaves, a collection of ruminations about touring (and how interesting is that to us, really?)

But this one – essentially a stream of stories and personal reminiscences to bare acoustic accompaniment – is two steps down into some lowlife world and broken families. All delivered in a monotone despite the presence of Will Oldham and Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley. He presumes you are interested in his (real or imagined) life in a song cycle which moves no further than his field of vision.

There are some interesting vignettes here but coming at you one after another – and if they're true then his life seems unnaturally cursed by disaster and accident – it has a numbing effect.

It's awfully dull and I'm probably wrong. Doubtless it will be hailed as a Cohen-like classic. Might be, but it's also utterly unlistenable after a single hearing I think, and not even the bonus live disc can redeem it.

Ever been being stuck with a guy on Mogadon at a post-funeral function and he wants to tell you all the shit that happened in his life?

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Mike Rudge - Apr 9, 2014

Spot on. I bought this based on a review. Possibly the worst album I own (and that is saying something)

Jeremy - Jan 9, 2015

You were right Graham - this is now being hailed as one of the year's best. Hard to understand. And he's also sparked a lame but hilarious feud with The War On Drugs! He does not strike me as someone I'd like to sit down and have a beer with.

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