“b’lieve i’m going down…” by Kurt Vile

September 26. 2015 | By Wayne Jessup

kurt vile

Kurt Vile
b’lieve i’m going down…
[Matador]

While Kurt Vile’s last LP Wakin On A Pretty Daze stretched the tension (and length) of songs to their breaking point, b’lieve i’m going down… is a more relaxed, but no less painstakingly compiled affair. Kicking off with the hypnotic “Pretty Pimpin’,” all the elements of his by now signature cloud of sound are present, burnished with some new or more foregrounded wrinkles, including banjo (“I’m an Outlaw”), piano (“Lost my Head There”), and a stunning instrumental (“Bad Omens”) that could become our era’s “Sleepwalk” by Santo and Johnny.

With the structures polished and flowing, and Vile never near shouting, there’s a certain amount of close listening/decoding needed, but it repays. Vile’s work has always been filed under “grower,” and the evolution feels natural. In a world obsessed with genre designations, Vile offhandedly invented his own classic rock. “Dust Bunnies,” “That’s Life, tho,” “Wheelhouse,” and “All in a Daze Work” form the spine of another meandering epic. Above it all sits Kurt Vile, the voice of your unguarded thoughts on miles of endless highway, perched on your rear view mirror, helping you work through the little things that add up to this life that we live.

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