Music review: Kurt Vile is scared

kurt vile’s Lisa Says considers the newest offering from Kurt Vile:

Just like the title “It’s a Big World Out There (and I am Scared)” implements, the newest Kurt Vile release invites the listener to stay in bed, sing along and celebrate a healthy moment of positive melancholia – and then just stroll around the neighbourhood, being a bit unworldly, seeing things with shiny eyes and being carried away to go… somewhere. A soundtrack to be on the way, released from the pressure of direction and planning, to be alone-not lonely. So, actually, the music works like therapy to not-be-scared, to trust, to lean back and just let it happen.

Next to the usual musical references that appear typical for Kurt Vile´s sound – Stephen, Bob, Neil, Bruce, Tom and all the other great songwriters out there, the record as a whole reminds me a little of the “Today is the Day” EP of Yo La Tengo: Maybe it’s caused by the round arrangement of a few very nice songs, because the basic mood is similar or because they are both typically well-done Matador releases.

If one is familiar with “Wakin On A Pretty Daze”, one can experience a strangely well-known feeling first time round, as five out of the seven songs offer previous material in form of extensions or remixes. Being recorded during the sessions to the last longplayer, this new release is available as an EP but as well in combination with the previous album forming “Wakin On A Pretty Daze: Deluxe Daze (Post Haze)”, celebrating the concept of creating limited vinyl editions. Like this, the 12” gives insight to the songwriting and decisions of the artist. Music is about interpretation and evolution, and records are always just a snapshot of a certain status quo within.

This fits very well with the general style of Kurt Vile: creating and developing variations of one theme. Layered songs, target-oriented without a goal, not only in the way they slowly develop chronologically. It is like all songs are variations of the same sound – an expanded monotony, unagitated. As an image, the sound would be driving snow in the pale light of a street lamp: Monotony that is unique in each moment, adrifting without ever being lost.

Speaking of which, the song “Snowflakes are Dancing” became the prolonged “Snowflakes Extended”, the opener “Never Run Away” is re-cast with a string synthesiser, making it “String Synth”. “Air Bud” is presented with clear sound as the instrumental “Wedding Budz”. It is those instrumentals that give the EP such a wonderful vibe. Spare lyrics make also the most part of “The Ghost of Freddie Roach”, one of the two previously unreleased songs, which is a psychedelic- tingling eye-opener. The other new one, “Feel My Pain”, is a wonderful piece of songwriting: picked guitar melodies accomplished by a drum machine and a pensive voice. Worth a listen!



Review by Lisa Says