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.