tue 11/12/2018

CD: Kurt Vile - Bottle It In | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Kurt Vile - Bottle It In

CD: Kurt Vile - Bottle It In

Rising alt-Americana artist continues to consolidate his reputation

Indie insouciance incarnate

Kurt Vile is a cult artist with growing commercial heft. He’s gained this without making concessions to mainstream sensibilities. Ever since Walkin’ on a Pretty Daze in 2013 he’s become an unlikely contender, mustering sales. His last album, a collaboration with Aussie fuzz-troubadour Courtney Barnett, almost made the UK Top 10. He’s not yet in the league of his old pals and band-mates The War on Drugs but his latest album, a step forward and slightly to the left, won’t do his career trajectory any harm.

Bottle It In is Vile’s eighth solo album. It is long and unafraid, every now and then, to lay down extended drone-riff songs. Vile’s M.O. is the kind of Americana experimentalism we expect from bands such as Megafaun and Deerhunter, but by way of the caustic avant-pop suss of Lou Reed or Flaming Lips. It’s a likeable cocktail although short on songs a listener might take away and hum. With some artists, this would spell disaster but Vile’s rambling, ramshackle persona is part of his appeal.

In any case, there are a few sunny pop numbers, notably the jolly, loved-up single “One Trick Ponies”, the dreamy whimsy of  “Rollin With the Flow”, and the album’s twangy country-rock opening cut “Loading Zones”. The latter hints at Vile’s wandering verbal and vocal style which can sometimes approach the intriguing stoned burbling of Why?’s Yoni Wolf (see “Cold Was the Wind”). The album’s centrepieces, though, are long psychedelic riff-rollers such as the swirling “Bassackwards”, the slamming guitar odyssey “”Skinny Mini” , the equally rocky  “Check Baby” and the relentless chugging groove of the title track

By the nature of 21st-century music journalism, there’s never enough time before writing to live with an album such as this, one which doesn’t immediately and obviously give away its pleasures. But I’m betting Bottle It In is a grower. It has that sense about it. Let’s talk on it again in December.

Below: Watch the video for "One Trick Pony" by Kurt Vile
 

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