Kurt Vile’s breezy bedroom music belies the fact that he is from Philadelphia, but I guess a bedroom, the internet and a recording device leaves invention to your whims and sometimes he travels to warmer climes in his songs. Occasionally I see palm trees and young men with guitars sitting under them melodically jamming on songs that have no end. There is sun, snow and rain in this music.
What’s different is that this R’n’R has lots of machines that accompany edgy guitar or organic arpeggio guitars, a bass and vocals. I realise that he doesn’t want real drums throughout because that would make him almost exclusively sound like the past – no one from the past whose music is so inherently R’n’R would do it like this. It’s his generations take on Indie rock, US bedroom style. Perhaps since he left The War On Drugs, it’s just easier this way and an audience that has grown up with drum machines galore just don’t mind. But at times it’s rather more a sophisticated demo by an older generations standards. So making it the finished item is a statement in itself – having real and machine working together. After a while you stop thinking about it because the songs are compelling – Was All Talk reminded me of the Boys Of Summer backing track…in a time when the machine was still new and they wanted to do something different despite Don Henley being a great drummer. But this is different in another way – they came to the same conclusion for a different reason.
Throughout the album he has some convincing guitar tones and he does a great job of tapping into a style that is reminiscent of the history of R’n’R but stills hold you in its own spell – Lou Reed channels Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen with a different groove and meets the Jesus And Mary Chain in the bedroom of FN Cornog’s East River Pipe? Lyrically, I just don’t know? – A dreamer from the East Coast who sees palm trees in Philadelphia.