Kurt Vile is a respected musician in the indie rock genre, and has worked with other incredible artists such as Courtney Barnett. His best known song, “Pretty Pimpin,” is off of his solo album “b’lieve I’m goin down,” and it was the first song I ever heard by him.
Mr. Vile’s latest solo album, “Bottle It In,” stays true to his rambling folk inspired indie rock style and his relaxed, woozy sound makes the album a great autumn soundtrack. Mr.Vile’s wandering verses and seemingly pointless lyrics juxtapose beautifully with his skilled and purposeful guitar playing in the first track of the album “Loading Zones.”This song is by far my favorite off of the album. On the surface, the song is about parking illegally, but in usual Kurt Vile fashion, he somehow makes this basic task much more complicated by weaving in his daughters’ childish wonder at the world and his subsequent new optimism.
The sound of the song is bright and psychedelic. and Mr. Vile’s goofy lyrics make you want to smile. The tonal quality of the guitar and the finger picking reminds me of Neil Young’s “The Needle And The Damage Done” and it is very apparent Mr. Vile draws influence from him.
While “Loading Zones” has a very vintage feel, Mr. Vile’s use of electronic sounds gives it a modern touch. “Bassackwards” is a hypnotic, kaleidoscopic song that is almost a full 10 minutes long. The soft acoustic guitar sounds like you could hear it in a coffee shop, but the electronic mixture of different sounding synths creates a more complex layer. It is a very laid back song, and the vocals have a very casual feel making the song seem more intimate. The lyrics are a stream of consciousness as he talks about his day and the various things he does like going to a radio show.
“Mutinies” is another one of my favorites off the album. It’s a very simple song with repetitious verses and the instrumentals are not overwhelming. What makes “Mutinies” so great is the emotions that it conveys and evokes. Mr. Vile’s voice sounds gloomy and despondent as he sings, connecting mental health issues with technology; it is clear Mr. Vile is nostalgic for simpler times.
The guitar on this track has a melancholy sound and is a little dreamy which only adds to the feeling of emotional distance and hopelessness expressed in the lyrics. While there are many strong songs off of “Bottle It In,” there are some songs that drag a bit. Typically when a song is very long it is because there is something added into it that makes it a 100 times better. “Bottle It In” and “Skinny Mini” are 10 minutes long, but there is nothing special about them and the length feels a bit unnecessary. They are not bad songs, but halfway through I’m ready to hit skip.
Overall, the album is pretty solid and I would definitely recommend it. Its mellow psychedelic vibes and the intricate acoustic guitar featured on all of the songs make it a great album to just chill out to. Mr. Vile’s easygoing lyrics can be both fun and deep, making each track interesting to listen to.