The red house they were painting, they were, of course, painting blue. Sadness his breakfast, emotional torment his lunch, introspection his meagre evening meal, Ohian Mark Kozelek and the [a]Red House Painters[/a] were for a grey but beautiful period in the early- to mid-’90s a perfect, lavishly echoing articulation of pure and creeping woe.
) the sort of thing we now hear from Arab Strap, times are kinder to the group in retrospect. [a]Red House Painters[/a] were experimental and heartbroken when experimentation and heartbreak were unpopular commodities indeed.
As Kozelek is all too excruciatingly aware, though, people change. Stripped to the instrumental and procedural bone, the [a]Red House Painters[/a]’ thing is to musically anatomise relationships timelessly and classically. The early songs (like ‘Medicine Bottle’) echoing with despair and distant electric guitar, the later ones (like the beautiful ‘Summer Dress’) warmer and more acoustic, as Kozelek comes nearer the microphone, and back from the brink.
This collection captures best [a]Red House Painters[/a]’ ability to translate personal nadirs into creative peaks, and though fading since 1995, for his part, Mark Kozelek‘s still out there. Carrying on, continuing not to get over it.