Sings Christmas Carols
What a strange year for Mark Kozelek – or at least for his music. That amazing album Benji and then a petty feud with the War on Drugs where he released a couple of songs mocking them and the situation and took the joke too far by (pretty much) all accounts – I’m not going to judge him, he can do what he likes – and if that didn’t always seem the case this year that’s been brutally, blatantly obvious. Made apparent. So here now Mark Kozelek Sings Christmas Carols – no tricks, no gimmick – just a set of Yuletide standards giving the Kozelek treatment/s. So that lovely 12-string and his voice, sometimes it’s his voice looped to create enchanting layers (O Come All Ye Faithful), other times it’s just a straight, simple reading of a straight, simple song (O Christmas Tree, Away In A Manger).
Kozelek has a way with covers – he’s recorded plenty across his various pseudonyms, including album-length tributes to AC/DC and Modest Mouse and he’s always been able to make a song his own, whether it’s something you never expected anyone to cover (again) such as Macca’s Silly Love Songs or a song that you might assume was done to death: Leonard Bernstein’s Somewhere. Here he turns O Little Town of Bethlehem into a sweet, tender Kozelek number and does a slap-up job on 2,000 Miles.
It’s all very palatable – very easy to endure, and that says a lot given it’s a Christmas album. It might even take on more meaning with the years – becoming a staple in this home, maybe in yours too.
Can’t it be both?
Of course it can. It’s the Koz.
Mad as a brush. But oh that voice, and that lovely proud guitar…