Connor Godfrey Connor.A.Godfrey@uwsp.edu
Kurt Vile’s sullen expression and long flowing hair wouldn’t lead you to believe he has a great work ethic (not that I am one to judge). Back in 2008, Kurt’s solo album Constant Hitmaker was released along with The War on Drugs (his band at the time) album Wagonwheel Blues. Since then, Kurt Vile has decided to focus on his solo career, pumping out four albums within a four year time period. The quality in Kurt Vile’s work does not seem to correlate with the length of time it took to produce those albums, and this has been especially proved to be true with his latest release, Wakin on a Pretty Daze.
Firing off the record is the “title track” Wakin on a Pretty Day; the album title is a pun of this song, according to Kurt Vile. The 9 minute album opener had me completely engaged, and upon first listen I had to repeat it a few times before I continued with the rest of the album. In an odd sort of way, it reminded me of something Neil Young would record with Crazy Horse; it has a certain psychedelic “jaminess” to it. I really love when the guitar riff kicks in around four and a half minutes in. The song smoothly transitions into KV Crimes, the hard rockin’ track of the album with some shreddin’ guitar work.
Kurt Vile’s vocals are in theslightly-above-mumbling tier, but the lyrics range from humorous to wise. “Phone ringin’ off the shelf; I guess it wanted to kill itself” is a quirky line that probably reflects Kurt’s feelings towards his communication with the music industry. In the final track Goldtone, Kurt lays down the truth and tells us that when is in his zone he may seem stoned, but he has in fact “never touched the stuff.” The lackadaisical, mellow tone of the album makes you think otherwise, but I believe him.
Wakin on a Pretty Daze is the perfect title to this album. I would suggest to listening to it after waking up from a nice afternoon nap in the sun to fully appreciate the dreamy and spacious world that Kurt Vile has gifted us.