Published May 25, 2016Whether you're anti- or pro-Kozelek, the Ohio singer/songwriter's outspokenness over the past few years have proven to be, at the very least, distracting. That may be why it's so disarming to hear the Sun Kil Moon frontman take on an album's worth of popular and beloved songs.
The fact that Kozelek, mostly known for composing on acoustic guitar, made Mark Kozelek Sings Favorites strictly on the piano helps separate this material from his previously released cover albums. Moving from pre-rock classics, (Stephen Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns," the classic "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"), classic rock cuts (10cc's "I'm Not in Love," Bob Seger's "Mainstreet") country folk (Don Williams' "Amanda," Roy Harper's "Another Day") and left-field choices ("O Holy Night," Modest Mouse's "Float On"), Kozelek's astoundingly beautiful and earnest vocals keep the album feeling buoyant and likeable.
Bringing in a slew of guests, including Faith No More's Mike Patton (on David Bowie's "Win"), Will Oldham (on Rickey Nelson's "Get Along Home Cindy") and actress Minnie Driver (on Frank and Nancy Sinatra's "Somethin' Stupid"), Mark Kozelek Sings Favorites comes off as if it was created to serve Kozelek more than to stimulate the listener, making the no-frills, stripped-down set easy to fall for to but tough to return to. (Caldo Verde)