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Kurt Vile - (watch my moves) Music Album Reviews

Kurt Vile - (watch my moves) Music Album Reviews
Kurt Vile now builds albums the way other artists might compile demo collections. His latest LP conjures images of dreaming and traveling without worrying where they lead.

Listening to (watch my moves) is not like watching a man relax in a hammock. It’s more like following him as he peruses the house for all the right snacks and just the right book, as he steps into the yard to assess his surroundings and find a sweet spot in the sun, as he sets up a hammock between two trees and settles in to recline until, aw man, it’s time to get dinner goin’. The songs on Kurt Vile’s latest album are patient and methodical, building gradually as the lyrics descend from a general premise—say, getting on a plane or chilling in the practice space—to casual observations of what’s happening in the music itself: narrating the mood before receding into a tranquil guitar solo or dreamy coda that feels like the payoff for a long day’s work.

Anyone accustomed to soundtracking their routines with little made-up songs for their cat or houseplants will immediately recognize the tone. “Thoughts become pictures become movies in my mind/Welcome to the KV hard drive and movie marathon,” Vile announces in “Like Exploding Stones” before downplaying his invitation with a sheepish aside: “But I’m just kidding and I’m just playing.” Within the first two minutes of opener “Goin on a Plane Today,” he announces plans to chug a beer, listen to some Neil Young, and try a mindfulness exercise of checking in with his younger, more insecure self. His message from the future? Guess what, things turned out pretty OK.

At 42, Vile has worked hard for this kind of self-assurance. He’s inked a new deal with the prestigious jazz label Verve and met some of his heroes. He’s written a block of slow-motion anthems to form the staples of a festival set and developed the kind of sprawling discography that feels more akin to the classic rock era he adores than the fickle streaming era, even as playlist curators and commercial music directors have embraced his vibed-out sound. All the while, Vile seems no further from his muse than he was back in his early lo-fi days, when you could only barely see the shape of his singer-songwriter ambitions through the pot smoke and amplifier fuzz.

The result of this consistency is two-pronged. On one hand, it makes minor updates feel more rewarding. Nowadays, Vile’s singing leans toward the deadpan spoken word of late-career Lou Reed, an approach that helps the stoner-dad observations land harder (“That teapot sings in a beautiful falsetto”) and melodic outliers like “Jesus on a Wire” stand out from the pack. On the other hand, you are less likely than ever to hear a new Kurt Vile song and think, “Wow, maybe I didn’t have this guy all figured out.” For large swaths of the record, if you’re not paying close attention, you might wonder if he set a loop on the drum machine, picked up a guitar, and forgot the tape was running.

In both his music and lyrics, Vile conjures images of dreaming and traveling, moving forward and getting lost in thought. He works well with duet partners—Cate Le Bon on “Jesus on a Wire,” Chastity Belt on “Chazzy Don’t Mind”—and remains a singular guitar player, even as his loose, major-key melodies become harder to differentiate. More playful and atmospheric than 2018’s Bottle It In, the music sometimes recalls Vile’s earliest material, when his songs were distinguished more by their textures—the muted horn arrangement in “Goin on a Plane Today,” the descending slide guitar in “Mount Airy Hill (Way Gone),” the woozy synth in “Fo Sho”—than the actual songwriting.

One track cuts through the fog, and it’s Vile’s cover of “Wages of Sin,” an eerie Bruce Springsteen outtake written between Nebraska and Born in the U.S.A. It makes sense that Vile gravitates toward this kind of obscurity, something that likely materialized during a single day in the studio. (Springsteen himself forgot it existed until coming across the recording while poring through master tapes for 1998’s outtakes collection Tracks.) Ignoring an ominous sense of desperation that Vile rarely approaches in his own writing, you could easily mistake it for one of Vile’s originals: the collage-like string of memories and visions, the unresolved chord progression that seems born from those early, sleepless hours when every thought feels frayed and bittersweet.

The song also serves as an interesting center of the Venn diagram between Vile and the War on Drugs, former bandmates and fellow Springsteen acolytes whose path has diverged considerably from his own. While the War on Drugs, also now on a major label, build their glossy, meticulous arena rock piece-by-piece to summon the magic of their heroes’ biggest hits, Vile has burrowed into the messier corners: He’s less interested in the endless studio hours spent perfecting “Born to Run” than all the other songs neglected on the cutting room floor, half-formed or unfinished, lost to time or resurrected decades later.

In some ways, Vile now builds his albums the way other artists might compile their demo collections. He wants you to hear the wide-open, negative space where someone might place a chorus; he wants you to zone out to the endless jams before they get sculpted into tighter compositions; he wants you to consider the banal, vulnerable diary entries that often lead to sharper observations. Occasionally, he frames this all as a self-soothing mechanism against the uncertainty that courses through his lyrics: “Even if I’m wrong, gonna sing-a-my song till the ass crack o’ dawn,” goes a line in “Fo Sho.” “And it’s probably gonna be another long song.” The deeper Vile gets into his career, the more his creative process seems to blend with the results. On (watch my moves), he invites us to follow the introspective journey from the spark of an idea to its steady pursuit to its contented fadeout, knowing the next flash of inspiration could be just on the other side.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Kurt Vile - (watch my moves) Music Album Reviews Kurt Vile - (watch my moves) Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Saturday, April 23, 2022 Rating: 5

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