Published Sep 24, 2015On b'lieve I'm goin down… Kurt Vile takes his time, and he takes it easy. Even upbeat opener "Pretty Pimpin" feels like a laidback road tune: long hair whipping in the breeze, windows down, one hand on the wheel, driving calmly toward something big. It sounds like a gaze into existential crises, as evidenced by the lyrics, as Vile realizes the guy in the mirror staring back at him is himself: "Then I proceeded to brush some stranger's teeth, but they were my teeth, and I was weightless."
What follows is similarly contemplative, especially sonically. Vile recently revealed to Kim Gordon his favourite track from b'lieve is "Wheelhouse" and mentions its "kind of meditative" nature. Large chunks of the 60-plus-minute album share the same quality; the looping spirals of resonant fingerpicking on songs like "All In a Daze Work" and "Kidding Around," combined with Vile's lethargic crooning, create a compelling, hypnotic atmosphere. Its tendency to slip into trance-like arrangements can make b'lieve feel a bit too sleepy at times, but moments pop up just in time to pull you back, like the jaunty piano on the hazy "Lost My Head There."
It's a dreamy ride through gloom-tinged nu-Americana. (Matador)