For his third full-length release of 2017, and fourth overall counting a solo EP -- seriously, slow down, man! -- Sun Kil Moon's Mark Kozelek collaborated with Sean Yeaton, a musician and writer best known for playing bass in Brooklyn garage punks Parquet Courts. Yellow Kitchen doesn't come close to sounding like that group, however. Instead of frantic, noisy post-punk, the music is cold and abstract, serving as a dreamlike, sometimes distant background for Kozelek's autobiographical rants. The album opens with a bit of creeping Philip Glass-inspired minimalism, filled with rumbling pianos and set to a metronomic pulse. Subsequent tracks switch between avant-garde keyboard passages and ragged lo-fi indie rock, particularly "No Christmas Like This." Lyrically, Kozelek is treading the same territory as his other 2016-2017 releases. He's concerned about the results of the 2016 election and the state of society, but more concerned about his own health and aging process. He addresses why he doesn't write the way he used to back in the '90s, and references celebrity deaths, movies he's watched, and restaurants he's eaten at. He also continues to break the fourth wall on "Somebody's Favorite Song," during which he basically documents the songwriting process, stating that he's not really sure what the song's going to be about. He decides that it's going to end up being exactly four minutes long, but after a few seconds of silence it starts again, and he continues rambling about conversations he's had with people. Breaking from all of this is clear highlight "The Reasons I Love You," an awkward but cute ditty directed at Kozelek's girlfriend, set to a click track, a whistling kettle, and a comforting acoustic guitar riff. At only 41 minutes, the release is short and succinct compared to many of Kozelek's prior non-covers albums, which might come as a relief to some listeners. Even though the music is a bit more experimental, the effect is much the same. It's worth a listen if you enjoyed any of those releases, but otherwise it won't change your mind about Kozelek and the direction his music has taken.
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson