Kurt Vile’s gentle psychedelic warbling returns in earnest.
In 2011 with the release of ‘Smoke Ring For My Halo’ the pop-iest LP Vile has produced, saw him garner a broader fan base but it didn’t sit easy with the man from Philadelphia. Vile told the Guardian last week that, “It didn’t feel exactly me. I wasn’t entirely comfortable or experienced with the scenario, and I feel that this record is just 100% my voice all of the time.”
click here to hear: Kurt Vile – ‘Wakin On A Pretty Day’
Right from the opening track on “Walkin’” you get a sense that this really is Vile back to his blissful urban-decaying-Americana best.‘Walkin On a Pretty Day’ is nine minutes long, doesn’t really ‘go’ anywhere, it just ambles along, vocals are sung on a similar level and tone throughout. That previous sentence when reviewing another artist could be used to highlight shortcomings. Conversely, the ambling and tone is the power/genius of Vile. The gentle pace and the almost hummed vocal should not work, but he turns it into something genuinely beautiful. So in essence ‘Walkin On a Pretty Day’ is Kurt Vile. Tracks are long, they meander, they are not catchy, they are sort of similar but they are all though very impressively crafted and strangely imposing.
“Walkin..” was produced by the vastly experienced John Agnello, who also produced “Smoke Ring..” for Kurt Vile, it seems the pair have found a ‘sound’ which is now Kurt’s own. Agnello on his personal website gave his view on “Walkin On A Pretty Daze”, stating that it was; “Sprawling, beautiful and powerful. And those are the b sides!”
Walkin On a Pretty Daze though does slip into moments where Vile is reclaiming his natural tendency for weirdness/experimentation. Those moments are flitting and after the first listen become mesmerizing if at a certain stage of intoxication.
Vague is something in which Vile revels in, the tunes that could be described as vague only further stress Vile’s lyrical acumen. The listener feels almost propelled to dig out the sleeve to read along as he audibly bleeds his thoughts onto the record. “Girl Called Alex” and “Goldtone” are in the truest sense of the word ‘vague’. In both tracks Vile drags you along with his elated stonerism into tales of late-nights, friends and girls.
‘Never Run Away’ the second single from ‘Walkin’ is probably the catchiest on the album, its pop-Americana. The promotional video (click here: Kurt Vile – “Never Run Away” with intro from Kurt) for it contains an intro from Vile explaining how Matador records ran out of money to make a proper video, Vile sitting awkwardly throughout, dancing from his young daughter and finished off with his daughter shouting about kangaroo’s on her shoulder. In the four-minute clip you get the best of Kurt Vile, spaced-out stoner rock with humour and self-depreciation.
“Walkin On A Pretty Daze” will be warmly embraced by fans, will win a few more and will definitely brings smiles to festival goers that stumble upon his death-by-blissful-stoned-out-warbling.
“Walkin On A Pretty Daze” is released tomorrow, 5th April, in Ireland. (The album can be streamed here:Album Stream)
Follow Kurt Vile on twitter here: therealkurtvile
Kurt Vile & The Violators play in Ireland at the Body and Soul Festival in Ballinlough, Co. Westmeath, 21-23 June.
Tickets can be purchased here: Body & Soul Tickets