For their preview of the new Kurt Vile album, NPR compares it to the music of Mark Knopfler. What the WHAT? Sure there's a kinda-sorta "classic rock" sound and plenty of lead lines flowing effortlessly from the guitars, but really...Knopfler? Dire Straits? Wrong. This isn't a new generation D-Straits record at all.
Wakin on a Pretty Daze isn't a bad album, but it is on the verge of over staying its welcome. At over an hour long, the album has a lazy/hippie vibe in the sense that it feels like a group of musicians happily jamming through a set of tunes, enjoying a "groove," and not wanting to commit to the editorial process. Admittedly I've never been much of a Vile fan. His 21st century Lou Reed drawling syrup vocals have the "right" slacker-tude feel, however his lyrics dispense ennui and aw-shucks platitudes without sticking with the listener, simple words dribbled as if they're meaningful over a menagerie of guitar licks. This latest album's biggest strength are the guitar leads that might just cycle around and around forever as we dance barefoot in the backyards of our neighbor's urban farm.
The eleven songs on the album are grounded in acoustic jamming that often venture out into astral electric (near) rave-ups. This guitar work is impressive and everything here sounds great. Why do I feel reluctance then to just saying, "dammit, this isn't boring - its plain awesome ..." and why can't I recommend this to all you out there searching for 2013's anthem? Well, its probably because I can't remember a single lyric I just heard. After spending a couple hours with the album all I have behind my eyes is the empty headed high of jamming, twirling my hands, and swaying. Its not a bad thing to just sit back and listen to easy grooves, but I expected a little more from an artist sooooo critically beloved as Kurt Vile. I'll be on my way ... I love the jam, but didn't connect with the messenger.