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Kurt Vile - B'lieve I'm Goin Down (Matador)

5 October 2015

Philadelphia’s own Kurt Vile steps out again after 2013’s compelling Wakin On A Pretty Daze with another masterful Matador release, eccentrically entitled B’lieve I’m Goin Down…. Vile has been on a creative hot streak since 2011’s Smoke Ring For My Halo – each following release showing an accelerated maturity in Vile’s songwriting and studio capabilities.

On B’lieve I’m Goin Down… KV and his Violators show no signs of slowing down with imaginative songs and arrangements, nor does it do anything to dispute Vile’s rightful spot as one of the best indie artists around – in fact, it only further validates Vile’s sagacity.

Album opener “Pretty Pimpin” builds on previous Vile “hits” like “Jesus Fever” and “Wakin On A Pretty Day,” but here, the acoustic guitar is allowed to fully support the heady, infectious melody. The acoustic theme continues on “I’m an Outlaw” where banjos cast a contagious pattern while Vile’s tranquilizing voice supports – Vile even giving shout outs to former members of The Byrds, Gene Clark and Clarence White.

For better or worse, Vile has chosen to write what he knows on BIGD and there’s some major beauty and honesty within songs like “Wheelhouse,” “Life Like This,” and especially on “That’s Life, tho (almost hate to say),” where Vile sings, “That’s life tho/Hate to point out the painfully obvious.”

Vile has managed to tap into something that transcends indie trends and peers on B’lieve I’m Goin Down… Boredom and self involvement are things we are all now very guilty of and Vile understands that he is no different. By writing about his own limited circumstances (and leaving just enough open ended) , Vile has created something that sonically illustrates our increasing aimlessness as people and manages to ask some new questions – or at least accept the questions, which may be the only thing we can do.