“Don’t worry ’bout a thing, it’s only dying,” Kurt Vile drawls near the start of his latest album, and for the hour that follows, it feels that safe and then some within his musical world.
- Kurt Vile
- Wakin on a Pretty Daze
The Philly native’s third Matador Records LP takes time getting where it’s going—seven of its 11 tracks run longer than five minutes; seven stretch past 7:30—but nowhere does it needlessly noodle. Vile locks into grooves and then nimbly reshapes them, with his warm guitar work and speak-sing-y vocals. And magically, all the while he sounds like he’s barely trying—without ever sounding like he’s trying not to try.
Highlights like radiant opener “Wakin on a Pretty Day,” engaging story-song “Girl Called Alex” and devastating ballad “Too Hard” exist near the junction of Bruce Springsteen and Lou Reed, emotional honesty touched with musical mysticism. A career achievement with album-of-the-year potential.