After the glittering success of ‘B’lieve I’m Goin Down’ back in 2015, I guess Kurt Vile set the bar very high for this next solo record. ‘Bottle It In’ is an extensive 80 minute album, which offers fusion of folky psychedelia with an abundance of charm.
Opener ‘Loading Zones’ is the perfect starting point. An up-beat track with chatty vocals and saturated guitar which sounds like its talking back. Lyrically, Vile seems to explore the art of avoiding parking tickets whilst also talking about love. Like most of his tracks, ‘Loading Zones’ is a testament to his lyricism which has the spontaneity, yet honesty, of a wandering mind.
‘Cold Was The Wind’ is a sweet, laid back track in which Vile touches upon relationship with his daughter and his role as a father. Vile huskily singing: ‘Did I mention that I’m afraid of dying, think I heard my daughter crying. So I pick her on up, spin her around.’
The eponymous ‘Bottle It In’ acts as a showcase of not only Vile’s ability, but also his ear for the beautifully obscure. Layering harp, soft synth and tremolo guitar, Vile creates an intricate palette of sound which shouldn’t work, but does.
‘Check Baby’ starts with an 80s inspired synth bass met with folky guitar. The playful track has little direction which seems to add to its charm. Dancing with the bass and guitar, Vile offers almost eight minutes of experimental bliss which verges on the confused.
Similarly, the ten minute star, ‘Skinny Mini’, is a progressive track you almost feel yourself grow with. Vile moves from clean guitar, to Hendrix inspired fuzz tones. The guitar has its own voice, interrupting Vile at times, encompassing the idea of a stream of consciousness both musically, and lyrically. The fluttery ambiance found towards the end of the track could also be considered a nod to his time with The War on Drugs.
However, there are times when this stream of consciousness falls more on the side of confusing. The nine minute long ‘Bassackwards’ struggled to keep my attention. However, there is an unmistakable charm laced throughout the album which leaves you feeling like you’ve just interrupted a leisurely jam.
‘Bottle It In’ is a very human album. Talking about love, loneliness and family, Vile explores these themes in a manner which is incredibly natural and honest. Yes, at times you feel like him and his guitar go off on a tangent, but that is just a testament to the rawness of Vile’s musicianship. This album perfectly showcases the close relationship between musician, and music and is the ideal backdrop for long autumnal drives.