‘Tiny Cities’ big disappointment

Mark Kozelek of Sun Kil Moon has an array of songs in his repertoire. From his six albums with the Red House Painters to his solo efforts as well as his work with Sun Kil Moon, Kozelek is no stranger to the act of songwriting.

With Tiny Cities he tackles an entire album covers. All 11 tracks on the album are Modest Mouse songs. Kozelek has taken the songs of Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock, mostly off of the band’s early albums, and created new meaning for each one.

It could be considered a tribute album, but the only quality that speaks to Brock’s influence is the lyrics. Sun Kil Moon takes the brave approach of changing the tone of the songs completely. Unlike the upbeat and energetic work of Modest Mouse, Kozelek’s album channels a more melancholic atmosphere.

The two bands have a different vibe altogether that would, at first, seem to be an interesting pairing. Disappointingly though, all of the tracks on the album sound uniform and very much like the work of Sun Kil Moon’s debut album Ghost of The Great Highway.

One of the best tracks off of Modest Mouse’s breakout album Good News For People Who Love Bad News is “Ocean Breaths Salty.” Kozelek’s reinterpretation takes a completely different approach to Brock’s original, as he sings with a slower more aching tone.

Despite the lack of variety in Kozelek’s renditions, he is able to transform a few songs, such as “Dramamine” and “Grey Ice Water,” into ballads worthy of reformation.

Tip: Before listeners hear Tiny Cities, they may want to listen to some of Kozelek’s past collection of covers such as “What’s Next To The Moon,” a version of AC/DC’s catalog during the Bon Scott era.