Review: Sun Kil Moon's 'Common' Is a Stream-of-Consciousness Epic

Our take on 'Common As Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood,' the latest from Mark Kozelek

'Common as Light and Love Are Red Valleys of Blood' is the latest from Sun Kil Moon. Credit: Caldo Verde Records

Three years after the resplendently sorrowful Benji – Mark Kozelek's apotheosis, 20 years in, as a songwriter-cum-barstool-storyteller – comes this 130-minute stream-of-conscious brain dump, delivered over dreamy grooves driven by ex-Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley. The obsessions (death, boxing, mass murder, indie-rock inside baseball) feel more obsessive; the diaristic style more diaristic ("May 28th, 12:58 A.M., 2016," he intones on "Butch Lullaby," a requiem for a fellow traveller). Sometimes it drags, hypnotically or solipsistically, then a line – about the Orlando shootings, or Bowie's death – snaps things back into dazzling, desperate, furious focus. Taking its place alongside recent work-in-progress-style releases by Kanye and Kendrick, it's an epic for our unfiltered moment.