Tiny Cities is the overlooked album in Mark Kozelek’s discography; a rating of 3.0/10 by taste-maker Pitchfork upon its release didn’t help its reputation. Like Next To The Moon, it’s a full album of covers, this time from Indie rock act Modest Mouse; as with AC/DC, Kozelek sets Isaac Brock’s lyrics to his own music. Brock’s dense lyrics push Kozelek’s music in different directions. Musically it’s typically Kozelek, with his usual furtive voice and acoustic guitar, but it’s more concise than usual, with the eleven songs only running half an hour.
Highlights include the rhythmic, propulsive ‘Neverending Math Equation’ and the closing ‘Ocean Breathes Salty’, where Kozelek squeezes emotion out of the lyrics. I came to this album without hearing any of Modest Mouse’s versions beforehand, which has obviously affected my perception. With no preconceptions from the original source material, Tiny Cities simply feels like an accomplished and concise Mark Kozelek album.