Album Review: Kurt Vile – b’lieve i’m goin down…


Matt Fitzwater, Reporter

Kurt Vile once again proves why he is one of the best singer/songwriters working today. Combining playful lyrics, a seriously focused sound, and sublime vocals; Vile has always managed to convey true freedom of sound, but one can sense that there is a discipline there. His latest release – b’lieve i’m goin down… – is a tighter group of songs than his brilliant 2013 record Wakin On A Pretty Daze. The opening track “Pretty Pimpin” – to me – encompasses a lot of what I love about Vile’s music; the precise guitar work, the windy peripheral sounds, his chilled out vocals, and lyrics that can attest to both self-identity or imagining a goofy scenario for the fun of it. This combination is offered up in varying degrees throughout the rest of the record, and it does not wear out. When listening, you can tell that Vile and his band have worked really hard in crafting melody and arrangement. Lest you misconstrue low-key with laziness, just know that it takes a lot of endurance to completely hone any specific sound. Record after record, and song after song; Vile is an expert at this. This is a record you can listen to a couple times over on a day-trip, or if you have some chores to do around the house. It provides the ultimate feel-good vibe to accompany most any situation in need of a pick-me-up. Sometimes that is all you need.

It is easy to get wrapped up in the selfishness of singer/songwriters. We can usually pinpoint when those artists are affecting only to receive affection. With Vile, who writes about the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man from Ghostbusters falling down in a song titled “That’s Life, tho (almost hate to say),” I know he’s not trying fool me. I b’lieve in Kurt Vile.

Essential Tracks:  
“Pretty Pimpin”
“That’s Life tho (almost hate to say)”
“Life Like This”