For Mark Kozelek, old ghosts die hard.
The man behind Sun Kil Moon has always had a complicated relationship with the specters of his past, and on Admiral Fell Promises,
he once again mines his memory and crafts an ode to lost loves, death and listlessness. Kozelek is an adept storyteller, always toeing the thin emotional line between hope and hopelessness; even at his brightest, a lingering sadness surrounds him like relentless fog. Admiral’s
melodies—most notably on the title track and “Alesund”—are heavy and gorgeous, heart-breaking and breathtaking. Still, they’re marred by Kozelek’s indulgence in instrumental meandering—while it often suits his introspective bent, he’s not at his best here. Admiral
lacks the strong, emotional storyline of 2008’s April and retraces too many of his past musical steps. It’s a beautiful, melancholy snapshot of a musician dealing with his past, but he’s taken this picture before.