Kurt Vile | So Outta Reach

Matador (2011)
By ZETH LUNDY  |  November 9, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars

KV-MAIN

This six-song, 30-minute companion EP serves as a victory lap for long-haired Philadelphian Kurt Vile, whose vacillating and absorbing Smoke Ring for My Halo is certainly one of the year's best albums. (One can procure both releases through a new "deluxe edition" of Smoke Ring, or pick up the EP on its own.) So Outta Reach isn't so strong that I'd recommend it above its predecessor, but its songs are very much cut from the same cloth. "The Creature," a moody ode to predictability, is a dense finger-picking cousin to Smoke Ring's "Runner-Ups," while "It's Alright" and "Laughing Stock" are primo examples of Vile's billowing loose-then-taut psych-folk. The highlight is a scrappy cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Downbound Train." Vile rethinks the Born in the U.S.A. nugget as an echoing, big-strum rock exhalation replete with some urgent lead guitar. A narrative like Springsteen's isn't exactly Vile's bailiwick, though both dudes feed off the song's adrenaline pretty hard. "I ran 'til I thought my chest would explode," he sings, sounding somehow simultaneously unnerved and unperturbed, and then his band detonates in eighth notes around him.
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