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Wakin On A Pretty Daze

April 9, 2013 | Format: MP3

$9.49
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To be honest, I was somewhat underwhelmed by Kurt Viles' last album, "Smoke Ring For My Halo". There were a couple of songs that completely wowed me ("In My Time" and the title track) but I didn't care as much for the rest of it. To my way of thinking, that album sounded like a talented guy finding his way musically who maybe wasn't there yet. But based on what I saw as Vile's potential from those songs I liked so much, I decided to give his newest one "Wakin On A Pretty Daze" a try.

I'm pretty much wowed by this one from start to finish. It is without a doubt the best thing I have heard this year so far, and one of the more amazing records I've heard in a long time!

This time Vile uses a full band sound throughout, and the lengthy tracks allow the songs to stretch out a bit. And they stretch out into some pretty far-reaching places.

The moods range from a dreamy meditation on love and responsibility ("Too Hard") to an uptempo driver brimming with confidence ("Was All Talk) to beautifully-constructed pop ("Snowflakes Are Dancing" and "Never Run Away") to steady, muscular psychedelia ("Girl Called Alex" and "Air Bud"). There are other goodies mixed in, like the lovely and languid nine-minutes-plus opening track "Wakin On A Pretty Day" and the capstone of the album, the lush ten-minute "Goldtone".

Vile is ably assisted by his band, The Violators, over the course of the album. He and his two compadres create some beautiful sounds, and there are lap steel contributions by guest contributor Farmer Dave Scher in "Girl Called Alex", "Too Hard" and "Pure Pain" that elevate those songs from "good" to "great".
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The newest album from Philadelphia's Kurt Vile is a long one, 11 tracks clocking in at nearly 70 minutes. Since the average song lasts over six minutes, the artist allows himself to stretch out, giving the swirling, spacey sounds on this record a very relaxed vibe.

But don't make the mistake of applying psychedelic or stoner rock labels. The warm melodies and sonic textures constantly change as the dynamics swell and ebb with a perfectly organic feel. It's the most assured, most sophisticated, and strongest work of Vile's relatively young career. (He released his first solo album, "Constant Hitmaker," in 2008, and achieved a breakthrough of sorts with "Smoke Ring For My Halo" in 2011.)

The opening single, "Wakin on a Pretty Day," is a happy song of almost ten minutes that draws you in and then rewards you with a gorgeous guitar solo in the second half. The next number, "KV Crimes," is one of the few harder-edged, rocking tunes in the mix, like the later "Shame Chamber," which augments its propulsive drumming and grungy guitar with ecstatic whoops. I like both of them a lot.

The vocals on this recording are much as its title would lead you to imagine: most of them hazy and vague and mumbly, with wistful lyrics delivered at a languid walking pace. "Was All Talk," the third track, picks up the tempo, however. It has a hypnotic effect, with beautifully subdued finger picking on the guitar and broad chords on the organ that rush in like ocean waves. The epitome of this sound may be the fourth song, the slow-building "Girl Called Alex."

Vile has released a hilariously informal video of the brief fifth tune, "Never Run Away," featuring his delightful baby daughter.
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Format: Audio CD
Philadelphia's finest Kurt Vile has gone out of his way in the build up to this new release to accentuate his impeccable slacker credentials as a prelude to his fifth solo album "Wakin' on A Pretty Daze". This reviewer is having none of this propaganda, since at work here is a dogged perfectionist who has over the past five years led the dynamic heartland rock community in the City of Brotherly Love that has orbited around the best band in America bar none "The War on Drugs". All these musicians have been releasing music like its going out of fashion. Vile in particular seems to relish putting out more eight minute plus songs on this new record than contained on the the average Allman Brothers album thus when he confesses in the title track that "I live along a straight line/ Nothing always comes to mine/To be frank, I'm fried /But I don't mind" you wonder how much more he would release were he ever to become hyper? It raises the question if this level of prodigious output serves to lower his quality control; happily the answer is an emphatic no. That said for anyone who owns 2011's epic "Smoke Ring for My Halo" whilst there is no noticeable sharp rupture or break with its illustrious predecessor ("KvCrimes" would fit on either album), this new records aesthetic does provide a noticeably different approach which emphasises a much more assured and confident songwriter.

Starting at the album closer is illustrative, since the ten minute plus "Goldtone" happily ambles along at a luxurious pace and Vile's polished drawl punctuates it with verses which keep your attention in a loose way throughout its subtly languorous duration.
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