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Kurt Vile - (watch my moves) (Album Review)

Thursday, 28 April 2022 Written by Graeme Marsh

On Kurt Vile’s ninth album—and first on a major label—he comes close to achieving perfection. For almost 15 years now, he has been releasing solo albums that have a foot in two distinct camps: on one side are mesmerising songs that build around simple hooks, and on the other lazy sunny afternoon gold. '(watch my moves)', arguably for the first time, nails both at the same time.

The only thing stopping it from attaining absolute bliss is a Vile trademark. There are always throwaway tracks on his albums and there are still a few such cuts here. Opener Going On A Plane Today is a simple piano ditty that is most memorable for featuring Sun Ra’s James Stewart on tenor sax.

(shiny things) is little more than an interlude while Kurt Runner is just three minutes of sounds. But these are to be expected, even more so after Vile spent lockdown building his own home studio and filling it with loads of new musical ‘toys’ that anyone would spend hours mucking about with.

It doesn’t take long for the magic to appear. Those lazy, hazy summer afternoons and evenings are the perfect setting for the hypnotic brilliance of Flyin (On A Fast Train).

Equally, Cool Water boasts a classic country coating where the guitars are delightful, Chazzy Don’t Mind is so laid back it’s almost horizontal and Bruce Springsteen cover Wages of Sin is a lengthy seven minute ramble through a sun-drenched meadow. 

The chilled sheen of closer Stuffed Leopard is another winner in the same mould, and these moments are so plentiful and consistent that you feel Vile has upped his game considerably on the tracks that reflect his relaxed persona.

Previously, when Vile built his droning, riffy classics, they stood out as majestic pillars—they still do, but everything else is catching them up. The warped swirl of Palace Of OKV In Reverse is ace, as is the brilliant single Like Exploding Stones, which basks in spaced out glory across seven minutes that fly by. 

But the undoubted highlight is the centrepiece Mount Airy Hill (Way Gone), where an organ drone provides the backdrop for country guitars and an overall feeling of peak Neil Young. Cate Le Bon’s presence on the psych swirl of Jesus On A Wire also provides another memorable moment where their contrasting vocals couple up gorgeously.

With a greater sense of equilibrium throughout '(watch my moves)', Vile has possibly compiled his best and certainly most consistent album to date. It’s a stunning achievement and has the potential longevity to fill not only this summer with warmth but plenty of summers that follow.

Kurt Vile Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat August 27 2022 - BATH Forum
Sun August 28 2022 - LEEDS Stylus
Mon August 29 2022 - GLASGOW QMU
Tue August 30 2022 - BELFAST Limelight
Wed August 31 2022 - DUBLIN Vicar Street

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