Kurt Vile lets it all out in his new album, Bottle It In
With an extensive discography under his belt, Kurt Vile has very much carved out a place for himself amidst music history in his distinctly nonchalant, hazy manner. Last year saw the release of Lotta Sea Lice, a collaborative record with Courtney Barnett that offered a near to perfect musical union. Bottle It In comprises the Philadelphia songwriter’s seventh solo record to date and comes in, rather impressive for an album these days, at some 80 minutes of (at times) somewhat self-indulgent, but ultimately very enjoyable, sprawling, glorious, psych-tinged folk-rock.
Whilst Bottle It In might not feel like the most compelling of Vile’s records or necessarily offer something new, across the expansive thirteen tracks Vile very much demonstrates his supreme dexterity for crafting lingering, meandering soundscapes, a skill that he has very much honed throughout his musical career thus far. ‘Skinny Mini’ particularly illustrates this kind of stream-of-conscious monotone drawl that comprise Vile’s characteristic vocal style, whilst stand-out single ‘Bassackwards’ offers almost ten minutes of wavering, explorative psychedelic tones over which Vile unapologetically delivers lucid, journal-like trains of thought as he muses on his way of seeing and experiencing the world.
And this particular sense of reflection is what is at the heart of Bottle It In; as Vile wrote and recorded the tracks on this album in between touring over the past few years, the lyrical and sonic narratives that he weaves portray this particular kind of meditative introspection that reflects being on the road. Yet Vile’s speculations are characteristically unhindered by any sense of judgement or self-assessment, and with his typically nonchalant air Vile watches these thoughts surface, unhindered, and calmly float by with an overarching, infectious serenity.
Vile’s glistening cover of Charlie Rich’s ‘Rollin With The Flow’ rather aptly sums up his attitude towards life, and the leisurely pace of the entire record. Offering a heady, dazed blend of Americana, lilting psychedelia, and sauntering folk-rock, there is plenty to be found in the detail across these tracks. Although it’s more of a drifting listen perhaps than some of Vile’s more immersive previous releases, Bottle It In one of his best works to date.