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Kurt Vile - Bottle It In (Album Review)

Wednesday, 17 October 2018 Written by Graeme Marsh

You don’t have to wait long for new material from Philadelphia folk-rocker Kurt Vile. Last year’s ‘Lotta Sea Lice’ was a collaboration with Courtney Barnett, bolstering a prolific run of releases that continues with ‘Bottle It In’, his seventh solo outing in a decade.

Continuing a recent trend, the new LP was written, recorded on the fly, and laid down in numerous studios with various producers during gaps in Vile’s extensive touring schedule. Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, Cass McCombs and Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa, meanwhile, are among the guests.

“We’re going to try and pull a Bruce Springsteen, ‘Born in the USA’. Just, you know, keep putting out hit singles,” he told the New York Times of his aspirations for the LP.

The collection comprises 12 songs - plus an epilogue (bottle back) -  so there are plenty of options but, tellingly, it’s the three Vile has already released that strike gold.

Opener Loading Zones manages to encapsulate everything we love about Vile in a short snapshot, coming over as a scaled down version of one of his earlier classics, Wakin on a Pretty Day. His biggest strength remains the ability to conjure lengthy jams centred around one repetitive riff and the brilliant, warped Bassackwards fits the bill perfectly, utilising deft wordplay over a near 10 minute lifespan that you want to continue indefinitely.

One Trick Ponies is another winner built around a simple, addictive loop with Vile even poking fun at himself. “I’ve always had a soft spot for repetition,” he sings, adding: “Some are one trick ponies, but so am I.” Rollin With the Flow, a cover of a 1977 Charlie Rich country tune, might well appear as another single but it’s a cheesy, summery country twang-along you could take or leave.

And, aside from the particularly satisfying, shuffling title track, which sees a crackly groove coupled with occasional brass injections and finger picking, the rest of the album falls firmly into the category of standard Vile cuts. That’s to say, if you’re a big fan you’ll be reasonably pleased. Newcomers, however, may wonder what the fuss is all about.

At almost 80 minutes, ‘Bottle It In’ is a lengthy listen, but if the tracks were all as good as the first three singles it would be a modern day classic. Until Vile concentrates his efforts and pulls the less extraordinary numbers, though, we are likely to continue being treated to a constant stream of very good, but not great, albums.

Kurt Vile Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon November 05 2018 - BRIGHTON Concorde 2
Tue November 06 2018 - LONDON O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire
Wed November 07 2018 - LONDON O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire
Thu November 08 2018 - BRISTOL ST PHILIPS GATE
Fri November 09 2018 - BIRMINGHAM Crossing
Sat November 10 2018 - MANCHESTER Albert Hall
Sun November 11 2018 - LEEDS O2 Academy Leeds
Tue November 13 2018 - GLASGOW O2 ABC
Wed November 14 2018 - DUBLIN Vicar Street

Click here to compare & buy Kurt Vile Tickets at Stereoboard.com.





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