Wakin On A Pretty Daze
The restrained, cruisy Wakin On A Pretty Daze is tousled Philadelphian rocker Kurt Vile’s fifth solo album – the follow-up to 2011’s acclaimed Smoke Ring For My Halo – and it fails to disappoint on any level. At nearly 70 minutes long the album unravels gently at its own pace, meandering to its casual destination with nary a care in the world.
Opening single Wakin On A Pretty Day sets the tone, soft drums and gentle guitars carrying the song for its near ten-minute duration, with Vile’s cryptic vocals floating softly over the top. It’s clear as the track winds to its finale that Vile’s band – primarily Jesse Trbovich (guitar) and Rob Laaskso (bass), abetted by a cast of top-shelf guests – have become integral to proceedings, making it seem like a fully-fledged band effort rather than the solo affair it’s billed as. The chugging and introspective KV Crimes is next, followed by the drum-machine intro to the catchy and almost cosmic Was All Talk. It’s all delightfully serene, unfurling slowly but surely to unveil the core of every song, tracks like the eclectic Pure Pain, the wistful Too Hard and the sunny Air Bud all disgorging more of themselves with every listen.
Vile is continuously imparting stoner wisdom (despite his protests to the contrary on shuffling closer Goldtone) over the space-infused music, and his words are always reassuring even when somewhat addled. It’s all almost verging on slacker but just a tad too well-produced and conceived for that mantle, proving instead to be just a stellar example of top-notch laidback rock’n’roll delivered by a man rapidly consolidating a reputation as one of the best of his trade.
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