Sun Kil Moon Ghosts of the Great Highway

No longer satisfied releasing albums under the Red House Painters banner or even his own name, Mark Kozelek presents to us his new band Sun Kil Moon. The music, however, is an instantly recognisable continuation of his previous work. Not only is the sound pleasantly familiar, this is one of his finest moments in recent years, returning to the stage set by Songs For A Blue Guitar. Arguably, this may be his best album to date. The album opener, "Glenn Tipton” (the guitarist from Judas Priest), welcomes us to Kozelek territory — memories of family, odes to ’70s rock icons, donut shop owners and, of course, boxers. The sound of the assembled band differs little from the Red House Painters, undoubtedly helped by the presence of his long-time drummer Anthony Koutsos. The guitar volume does rise on tracks like "Salvador Sanchez” and "Lily and Parrots” where his signature lengthy solos are present, although thankfully they are more sensible here. However, it is his bittersweet acoustic work that shows off Kozelek’s inherent strengths as a musician and songwriter. "Gentle Moon” could easily be his most refined song ever recorded and although the prospect of radio singles has been mostly irrelevant to Kozelek, this would be a top contender. Ghosts of the Great Highway is a triumphant return to form. His voice remains nasal and trembling, his lyrics are straight from the gut and the music is a piercing shot of reflection, sadness and hope. (Jetset)