Kurt Vile, the laid-back Philadelphia guitarist, has recently released his fifth solo LP, Wakin On A Pretty Daze, the follow-up to 2011′s Smoke Ring for My Halo. This album is arguably his best album yet, even though it still has that lucid, subdued or even psychedelic vibe to it. Kurt has been a bit more ambitious on some of these tracks, incorporating a cow bell, some folk elements, a slide guitar and processed drum beats, giving it an almost futuristic quality. The vibe for the whole album is set within the ten-minute opener, ‘Wakin on a Pretty Day’; although long, I was fully entranced by Vile’s unrushed and hazy vocals, which definitely warranted the track’s time.
This album takes a bit of patience to listen to, as it runs 70 minutes long with each song averaging about six minutes, but is definitely worth experiencing as a whole. Each song seems to wander, with no real direction, but I believe that was Vile’s intention for this album. His storytelling takes you to another place; I found myself staring off into the clouds, picturing myself floating amongst them. Listening to each song emits some sort of physical sensation; it’s as if his music was a drug and I was high as a kite!
The song, ‘KV Crimes’, seems very Springsteen-inspired, with a cowbell and electric guitar being incorporated throughout. In the song, ‘Too Hard’, Kurt seems to tap into his personal life, musing over being a father and husband. ‘Snowflakes are Dancing’ is a faster-paced song, with some very Neil Young-inspired cords to it. Kurt’s voice is very sincere on this track, making it one of my personal favourites. Most of the songs on this album seem so effortless and almost lackadaisical, but one should not be fooled, as these tracks are deceptively complex.
The closer, ‘Goldtone’, is another ten-minute ballad. The song meditates on a repetitive looping riff with layers of other instrumentation and vocals being added, like a dreamy organ and drowsy slide guitar. This song is brilliantly arranged, a perfect finish to such a well-produced album.
I’d give anything for a glimpse into Vile’s mind, to part that unruly mane for just a small sneak peek inside to help me understand how he creates such seemingly effortless music. I am looking forward to future albums, as Kurt seems to be improving on each new LP he releases.