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coverpic flag US - Pennsylvania - Full Moon 235 - 10/27/15

Kurt Vile
b'lieve i'm goin down...
Matador Records / Playground

Kurt Vile has been getting into his stride during the last years. In a world where guitar rock is no longer the musical epicenter, Vile's past records makes a good case for its continuing relevance. While B'lieve i'm going down... in many ways keep up with this tradition, the guitar (and the attached effects) has been toned down in favor of a wider instrumental ensemble. For example, it could be said that Vile is no stranger to the banjo, and it features heavily in I'm An Outlaw, more surprising is the extensive use of the piano in the balladesque "Life Like This" and "Lost My Head there". All in all, B'lieve i'm going down... fits well into the Vile discography but it also brings something new to the table.

After listening to the record during closing time at his job, a friend of mine commented that while he loved the mixture of genres and Vile's skill as a composer, the lyrics were quite simple, if not mundane. And I guess he's right in way. At first glance, Vile's lyrics might not seem overtly sophisticated. Still, they are full of understated humour and confusing reflections about everyday life i.e. the mundane.

Vile tells stories, and the record contains several mini-narratives. "Pretty Pimpin" and "I'm An Outlaw" are both songs that expand on a subject's (Vile's?) self-understanding as an isolated badass, or in Vile's own words "an outlaw on the brink of imploding" or "all I want is to just have fun - live my life like a son of a gun". This notion of storytelling might also be extended to the album as a whole. It begins with the country-infused guitar-plucking tunes of "Pretty Pimpin", and from there on each song diverge from the previous, but still remain connected through Vile's staple fingerpicking.

Buy it, stream it, or go see Vile perform at a venue near you. He's currently on tour, so check out his HQ site.

Copyright © 2015 Jord Nylenna e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Kurt Vile article/review: Childish Prodigy.

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