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Published on November 12th, 2018 | by voxx

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Kurt Vile – Bottle It In

Philadelphian rocker’s laid-back, on-the-road psychedelic travelogue…

Even in the more horizontal moments of Kurt Vile’s music, there has always been the fidgety presence of someone with a restless spirit. You can hear it in his vocal delivery, a Philadelphian drawl that sounds deceptively like a yawn but is often probing and constantly wandering. Vile made this seventh solo album at various studios across America, sessions squeezed in-between shows and family vacations, and he sounds at home being on the move.

His voice, so important to the songs, always needs a strong musical anchor. The tumbling Americana of 2015’s B’lieve I’m Goin Down… gave it room to breathe, and here psychedelic jams built around Tom Petty-style classic rock give it licence to roam. Those expecting Vile to straighten up his act in the hope of replicating the unlikely arena status of his friends and former band, The War On Drugs, haven’t been paying close enough attention to his work.

Vile thrives when he sounds like he’s on a wild ramble, and with three songs (the slow-motion folk-rock of ‘Bassackwards’, the dreamy title track and the sparse ‘Skinny Mini’) in and around the 10-minute mark he’s given himself plenty of room in which to stretch out.

That approach doesn’t always pay off, but it’s worth it for moments such as when he and Cass McCombs engage in a shrug-of-war while the title track locks into a gentle groove around them. His seventh album sees Vile cement his place as an artist following his own lead. He’s someone who will not be cornered. Or hurried.

- By Jake White


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