By Ian Bremner
Most sane people do not immediately listen to new records front to back relentlessly trying to find your “view” of them. So this may go without saying, but do not listen to Kurt Vile’s record one time and decide you love it! Or… “eh, didn’t do it for me like the last one.” Bottle It In, Kurt Vile’s 7th record is long and weird with more than a small dose of attention deficit disorder. It’s an hour and change in length and packed full of everything Kurt Vile does. Kurt Vile does everything too, by the way. It’s twangy, but with drum machines. It’s synthy but with psych guitar. Its strummy and piano-y. The lyrics are even more Kurt Vile-y than his other records. His Philadelphia every-man roots shine through on tracks like Loading Zones when he confidently states, “one stop-shop life for the quick fix // before you get a ticket // that’s the way I live my life // I park for Free!” It’s stream of conscious, yet hilariously poetic. It’s meandering, heartfelt, funny and often times, totally absurd.
Neil Young has long been claimed as one of Vile’s idols. Bottle It In may be the closest thing he’s done to Neil for the simple reason of it being whatever the hell he wanted it to be. When Neil Young put out Trans he was sued for not sounding like “Neil Young.” The equally funny and famous follow up to that was Prisoner of Rock n Roll. Vile’s new record definitly sounds like him, but Neil’s point was, he doesn’t have to sound like anyone or anything except himself. Bottle It In is undoubtedly Kurt Vile. All parts of all him, and that’s what makes it so enjoyable.
Kurt Vile has clamoured to have a “hit record” but he also refuses to stick to the hit-song formula. Rarely does Vile come up with a tune and wrap it up in the perfect 3 minute package. He goes off into solos and guitar tangents that lead to large builds like a jam band. There’s no straightforward radio singles on Bottle It In it like Pretty Pimpin’ from his last record b’lieve i’m goin down. The closest it comes is the track Bassackwards, but even that is an 8 minute jammer. He simply can’t help himself and that’s all the more endearing. His profile has grown steadily with each new release and Bottle It In will undoubtedly introduce himself to new listeners, so whether this album is a “hit” or not, it’s going to keep the Kurt Vile Freaktrain chugging steadily.
Listen to Bottle It In out now on Matador Records via spotify
Video for Loading Zones
Watch a rehearsal session in the Catskills featuring songs from Bottle It In