Kurt Vile – Wakin On A Pretty Daze
Warning all students. Listening to this album can seriously damage your grades. You don’t have to be stoned to listen to Kurt Vile’s new album. But it must help. Nearly 70 minutes of languid, slacker, stoner rock. “I will promise not to smoke too much”, he sings on ‘Too Hard’. Obviously, he’s being ironic. There’s only one sort of atmosphere that could have generated such a sweet set of tracks. Pretty much one-paced, the songs start, continue and, well, carry on until they end. There’s some variation. The guitars are a little heavier on ‘KV Crimes’. The percussion a little faster on ‘Was All Talk’. There’s even a change of tempo mid-song on ‘Pure Pain’. Typically, though, Kurt eases us through one track after another. The effect, though not the sound, is a little like a Sun Kil Moon album before Mark Kozelek discovered the Spanish guitar. The songs are long. They don’t build any tension. So, there’s no subsequent release. There are gaps between the tracks, but, really, it’s one long song. And a great song it is too. What are the lyrics about? Who knows? The vocals are way down in the mix. It’s like asking a question of your teenage son and, you know, he’s just way too tired to answer coherently. If you tried, you could probably figure out what Kurt’s trying to say, but it doesn’t really matter. Instead, the mood is everything. And throughout the mood is laid-back, relaxed. This is a wonderful collection of songs from an artist who seems to be completely in control of his sound. And you know what? The best thing about this album is that you don’t have to be stoned to enjoy it.