Smoke Ring for My Halo - Matador
FILTER Grade: 85%
By Kyle MacKinnel on March 11, 2011
In just a short while, Kurt Vile’s music has been traced back to a gaggle of influences, including Neil Young, Dinosaur Jr., Tom Petty and Ariel Pink. While those comparisons can tread water, the sum doesn’t serve the drowsy essence that Vile casually conjures on his fourth album. That is to say: Here is a wonderfully original record. The artist himself probably puts it best when he drawls, “It’s just me/Bein’ me/Bein’ free” (“On Tour”). Vile’s preternatural vibe is trumped only by his ability to plonk hooks in the gaps of forgotten dreams. “Jesus Fever,” perfect in the second slot, delivers a subtle strain of charisma whose roots run deep beneath the surface. “In My Time” explores the tensions between past, present and future before its chorus happily severs the continuum. Vile has—to paraphrase something that David Foster Wallace said—his own way of fracturing reality, and it’s so true that you’ll feel it in your nerve endings.