Rarely has an album title been more descriptive than "Dark Night of the Soul." This is essentially Sparklehorse's final album, one he (Mark Linkous) wrote the music to, but one in which he exists simultaneously as a side-player and spiritual muse. (Linkous committed suicide before the album's release.) The guest vocalists (The Flaming Lips, Iggy Pop and Suzanne Vega, to name a few) are all top-notch and are mostly reverent to the spirit of Sparklehorse. Grandaddy's Jason Lytle's "Jaykub", Gruf Rhys's "Just War" and Vega's "The Man Who Played God" are some of the best songs here. But I'll be honest, there is an unshakable gloom overshadowing the entire album. (It doesn't help that Vic Chesnutt, another suicide victim who died soon after his performance here, has a song called "Grim Augury.") There are life-affirming things to be found on "Dark Night of the Soul." Finding them just requires some work.
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