Kurt Vile

Bottle It In

Matador

Oct 12, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


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Kurt Vile's latest album, Bottle It In, stretches across a long-winded 79 minutes. An album of such length would typically meet a great deal of criticisms, a drawn-out and wearisome divergence of windows-down freeway rock: this is Vile's forte, though, and his musters and oddball sentences are revered and cherished, his vocal presence undemanding but completely addictive.

Bottle It In provides a space for Vile to meddle with drum machines and synthesizers, objects and frequencies that are typically absent from Vile's previous body of work. Instead of lo-fi as a literal production approach, as seen on 2008's Constant Hitmaker and 2011's Smoke Ring for My Halo, Vile uses it as an aesthetic, and it's a complete departure from 2015's b'lieve i'm goin down..., which was a sharp collection of banjo-fueled, back road burners.

At this point, Vile's sound is well-defined: loose and airy guitar solos, strange, hypnotic soundscapes, a slick and jocular Americana persona. Such is seen on "Bottle It In," the trance-like title track, where Vile finds a groove and chugs along for something moody, atmospheric-Mary Lattimore's accompanying harp arrangement patient and spacious.      

Underneath a swampy haze, Vile's music is impressively articulated, his songwriting lucid, jumping right off the page. But what's most appealing about Kurt Vile isn't his image or his discographyt's his relatability. Within each tongue-in-cheek adage or mundane observation, like "I was on the beach/But I was thinking about the bay," on "Bassackwards," there's a whaff of familiarity, something endlessly relatable.

There's a comfort to Vile's music, like the glow of nostalgia and warm but distant memories, muttering a ceaseless flow of sideways witticisms, something aimless yet completely reassured. He is one of the most dependable artists working in indie rock, rehashing old sounds while always pushing the envelope, constantly expanding his artistic approach while never losing his footing. (www.kurtvile.com)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Chris Brown Songs RepRightSongs
October 12th 2018
8:02am

I wish I knew how to play the guitar. I grew up seeing my dad play it and always wondered how he learned so much to make music sound so good. I am guessing a lot of practice is how he did it.