Retribution Gospel Choir, Mark Kozelek
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., March 21, 2008
Retribution Gospel Choir, Mark KozelekCentral Presbyterian Church, Thursday, March 13
Maximizing the reverential acoustics of the Central Presbyterian Church, the Retribution Gospel Choir and Mark Kozelek silenced the pews through opposing extremes. The Minnesota trio, led by Low's Alan Sparhawk, unleashed an Old Testament fury from their Kozelek-produced debut, the raw surge of guitars on "Breaker" crashing into the unrepentant fuzz of "Destroyer," which resonated eerily against the rafters as Sparhawk droned, "I am the destroyer; I am the angel of death." Smoothing to a more melodic whine was "Kids," while "Somebody's Someone" brought a reckoning barrage to bear within the sanctuary. By contrast, Kozelek awed the overflow crowd with the hushed intimacy of his lulling voice and delicate roll of acoustic picking, opening with the stripped Sun Kil Moon tune "Pancho Villa" and notorious AC/DC reinterpretation of "Rock 'N' Roll Singer." Kozelek dips from ever-deepening wells of memory, songs drifting through nostalgic narratives that flit ephemerally through time and place, none more so than new offering "Tonight in Bilboa" from upcoming Sun Kil Moon sophomore LP April. "Gentle Moon" and April's "Lucky Man" proved equally mesmerizing as the former Red House Painter held the audience rapt. What the Retribution Gospel Choir rent open by force, Kozelek coaxed closed with subtle ache and beauty.