Kurt Vile | Childish Prodigy

Matador (2009)
By ZETH LUNDY  |  September 28, 2009
3.0 3.0 Stars

0909_kurtvile-MAin

Kurt Vile's punny name, as well as the title of his latest full-length album, bespeaks low-art subversion — surely the classical archetypes are running for the hills. The Philly-based singer/guitarist, who also does time in the band the War on Drugs, sounds like Mick Jagger holed up in a walk-in closet, perhaps suffering from blissful amnesia, perhaps hiding from a Keef-like figure, armed only with that catwalk sneer and a four-track recorder.

Vile's reductive charm dominates one-chord-pulse experiments like "Dead Alive" and "Overnite Religion"; meanwhile, album highlight "Hunchback," a thick mid-tempo head nodder, forgoes meditative fuzz for fuzzed-out, anthemic swinging for the fences. Throughout, a messy æsthetic attempts to cover up pop sympathies — or simply proves that dissonance and sweetness needn't be kept in their separate corners.

"You tell me a good man is hard to find/Well, what are you, blind?", Vile sings at one point, visible there just beyond the veil of echo and distortion.

  Topics: CD Reviews , Mick Jagger, Mick Jagger, war on drugs,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY ZETH LUNDY
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BROWN BIRD | FITS OF REASON  |  March 18, 2013
    Brown Bird, a boundary-pushing Americana duo from Rhode Island, make music that touches upon that can't-put-my-finger-on-it amalgamation of past and future sounds.
  •   NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS | PUSH THE SKY AWAY  |  February 20, 2013
    Much like the similarly low-key The Boatman's Call , Cave's highly anticipated 15th album with the Bad Seeds manages the puzzling feat of making a great band seem inconsequential, if not entirely absent.
  •   SCOTT WALKER | BISH BOSCH  |  November 27, 2012
    Scott Walker's late-period about-face is one of the strangest in the annals of pop music.
  •   BILL WITHERS | THE COMPLETE SUSSEX AND COLUMBIA ALBUMS  |  October 31, 2012
    Bill Withers has always been the down-to-earth, odd-man-out of the '70s soul brothers: he's the one who came bearing a lunch box on the cover of his relaxed 1971 debut, Just as I Am .
  •   R.E.M. | DOCUMENT [25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION]  |  September 19, 2012
    Fans of R.E.M. enjoy arguing over which album was the band's true shark-jump, but 1987's Document was inarguably the end of a groundbreaking era.

 See all articles by: ZETH LUNDY