It’s taken me a few weeks, but I’m finally catching up with Kurt Vile’s insular new record Smoke Ring for My Halo. Honestly, at first I wasn’t sure I understood why it was receiving the glowing reviews – I mean, I liked it, but it just seemed so monochromatic compared to his earlier work. But like a few of my other favorites of the year so far (Kaputt, Let England Shake, Common Era), the charms of Smoke Ring have revealed themselves to me in a bit more of a gradual manner. It’s as if Vile has created his own fascinating little idiosyncratic world on this record that you’ve been invited to explore, and that journey doesn’t just take 1 or 2 listens. The whole album has a sustained narcotic mood, sounding like it was intimately recorded in a dark dressing room well after hours. And then there’s Vile, whose lyrics come closer to inner monologues and intoxicated ramblings than traditional rock lyrics – he has a charmingly unique songwriting style that sets him apart from just about everyone else out there. All together it adds up to a great album from an artist with a singular (and singularly weird) vision.
MP3 :: Jesus Fever
MP3 :: In My Time
(from Smoke Ring for My Halo. Buy here)