Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. But tempos that gait like a swinging pocket watch and Kozelek's drowsy, double-tracked voice make a strong case for a spellbinding kind of sublimity. This uncanny effect is even more pronounced on Admiral Fell Promises.
  2. Admiral Fell Promises sits somewhere in the middle of being a series of musical pieces and being an album. It's brave, but Kozelek's grace and musical deftness means he never risks alienating his audiences and makes Admiral Fell Promises another essential addition to Kozelek's remarkable catalogue.
  3. His Bob Dylan-esque voice combined with the hauntingly beautiful arrangement of the classical guitar throughout Admiral Fell Promises is hypnotic, trapping listeners in a melancholy spell of wonder.
  4. Kozelek's Dylan-esque knack for delivering intensely internal narratives over simple folk melodies stretched out for several hypnotic minutes has once again resulted in top-notch mood music.
  5. 80
    Sitting down and listening to a full length album all the way through without outside interference is nearly impossible, let alone desirable. However, the solitary atmosphere and minimal elements of Admiral Fell Promises make it designed for just such a commitment.
  6. 80
    A beautiful album, and one that conveys such stillness that time itself seems to hang suspended. [Sep 2010, p.104]
  7. Kozelek appears to have returned to himself with Admiral, though the draw here is that (oddly, after so many years) he's finally discovered he can actually really play the guitar.
  8. 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.
  9. Admiral may not be as diverse as past releases, but it pinpoints its early-morning aesthetic with devastating poise. [Summer 2010, p.86]
  10. Ultimately, an interesting album within its constraints rather than a hands-down triumph, but there were a lot of constraints.
  11. Despite some lyrical cliches and careless redundancies ("Come out from the burning flame" being the most glaring example), Kozelek's songs change mood fluidly, and the contrast between the serene settings and his own tumultuous thoughts raises even the most languid instrumental passages above mere aural wallpaper, lending it the gravity of his best work while giving it a character all its own.
  12. Judged as an expansion on Kozelek's craft, Admiral Fell Promises is a slight effort; it offers intimate perspective, sure, but the object of observation remains the same.
  13. Mark Kozelek is surely a distinct voice, and a dynamic guitar player, but there's a difference between playing solo and playing to yourself. And he stumbles over that line just enough to hold this album back from greatness.
  14. 60
    The big shift on his beautifully recorded, intermittently moving fourth album under the Sun Kil Moon moniker is that only his nylon-string guitar plucking now accompanies his wounded croon.
  15. Kozelek plays beautifully, but without orchestration, his songs (which tend to run upwards of six minutes) start to seem directionless.
  16. By stripping away all those additional bells and whistles from Sun Kil Moon's sound, an unintentional side-effect is achieved: the whole thing turns out to be a bit too monochromatic.
  17. Admiral Fell Promises is the simplest Sun Kil Moon album in terms of production and presentation, but the richest in terms of structural complexity, and poetic and emotional power.
  18. His songs, like old friends, fill roles and shift out of your consciousness and perhaps that is truly the issue with his career work; that it is too human.

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