Kurt Vile - Watch My Moves

Regular price $ 39.99

Like so many touring musicians, Kurt Vile was thrown completely off his axis by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the consistent cycle of recording, album release, and extensive touring upended, Vile spent much of 2020 and 2021 sculpting (Watch My Moves), his ninth solo album, major-label debut, and perhaps simultaneously the most considered and most fractured reading of his meditative slacker pop. Vile's wandering songwriting often veers off in unexpected directions, but with some extra time on his hands, he uses (Watch My Moves) to linger on weird ideas and expanded textural experimentation. "Like Exploding Stones" has the same lackadaisical tempo and simple kind of chord progression as many of Vile's songs, but its bumbling groove is padded by cosmic synths and broken up by noisy guitar outbursts and heavily processed saxophone. Detuned synth tones take up almost as much space as the layers of woozy slide guitar on "Mount Airy Hill (Way Gone)," with Vile riffing demented stream of consciousness lyrics over an instrumental that could pass for a more animated Beach House. Vile duets with Cate Le Bon on "Jesus on a Wire" (a track Le Bon also produced) for one of the album's most pop-friendly moments, and gets into rustic folk-rock with the swaying acoustic guitars and mournful violins of "Chazzy Don't Mind," abstract synth detours on a few instrumental interludes, a heavy-lidded cover of Springsteen's Born in the USA outtake "Wages of Sin," and puts together sing-song melodies, rudimentary piano, a full horn section, and self-referential lyrics about opening up for Neil Young on the childlike opening track "Going on a Plane Today." Some of the claustrophobia and cloistered feelings of the early COVID-19 lockdowns surface in "Flyin' (like a fast train)," where Vile paints psychedelic scenes of being stuck in his house while his mind is traveling through unknown galaxies and acid flashbacks. Many of Vile's albums are lengthy statements, and (Watch My Moves)'s 15 tracks and hour-plus runtime follow suit, but the blend of manicured production details and Vile's commitment to follow every idea wherever it leads makes the album feel more epic. The sounds will be familiar (even comforting) to longtime fans, but there are so many unpredictable turns and head-scratching moments that Vile ends up taking his music somewhere new by approaching the same kind of songwriting he's been doing since he started from unlikely angles.

1 Goin on a Plane Today 2:29
2 Flyin (Like a Fast Train) 4:46
3 Palace of OKV in Reverse 2:53
4 Like Exploding Stones 7:18
5 Mount Airy Hill (Way Gone) 5:32
6 Hey Like a Child 5:46
7 Jesus on a Wire 5:15
8 Fo Sho 4:52
9 Cool Water 5:05
10 Chazzy Don't Mind 5:33
     feat. Chastity Belt
11 (Shiny Things) 0:58
12 Say the Word 5:48
13 Wages of Sin 7:34
14 Kurt Runner 3:16
15 Stuffed Leopard 6:39