Kurt Vile – Wakin on a Pretty Daze (Matador)
April 24, 2013 by Fran Jolley
Former War On Drugs man Kurt Vile’s fifth album Wakin on a Pretty Daze has arrived. It’s trippy, mellow and beautiful. British summer has just found its perfect soundtrack.
With no great departure from his previous efforts. Vile delivers eleven songs that could have only been made my someone from the other side of the Atlantic. Not many Europeans can pull of an album of such psychedelic textures. Maybe we’re too uptight? But Wakin on a Pretty Daze sounds so comfortable with itself, it’s impossible to do anything other thant lie down and dream along with Vile’s voice. ‘Wakin on a Pretty Day’ starts us off with near ten minutes of bliss. A simple four chord structure that drifts along, allowing lead guitar lines to move in and out with ease.
Think of the best of 1970′s Neil Young or Jackson Browne and you’ll be close to the gods that Vile has chosen to worship for this album. But this isn’t a ‘Back to the Future’ retro trip. It sounds as modern and relevant as many of his contemporaries. The only criticism is that half of the songs on the LP are over six minutes. Patience is the key and Vile’s songs do seem to wander, but then the lyrical vibe is all about travelling, so it’s easy to see why each song would try to take us along for the ride. ‘Shame Chamber’ and ‘KV Crimes’ slightly change from the mould, where Dinosaur Jr’s grungy spirit takes over its influence before we are treated to another ten minute epic closer of ‘Goldtone’ It’s steel guitar and and gentle percussion glide sweetly along a wave of sound, before we are treated to a beautiful duet with Emily kokal (Warpaint) and a delicate Jesse Trbovich guitar outro.
Vile credits Gary Numan’s ‘Are Friends Electric’ and Fleetwood Mac’s experimental ‘Tusk’ to what he was listening to when creating the album. And he wanted to push the envelope with this work on how to make a pop album. Wakin on a Pretty Daze is certainly not a pop album and a high five shall be rewarded to anyone who can spot a Numan influence. Not sure what Vile has been smoking, but it has at least made his best album to date. This is a man who is indeed comfortable to be comfortable.