Kurt Vile may have been listening to JRR Tolkien’s words:
‘All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us’.
this has never been more important after a lockdown world. Yes, that word again. The act of being shut away was pressure for some, calm for others. And many of us are still dealing with it. The emotional effects of being shut away, the worry of being forced to step into the big, wide world again.
Another part of lockdown was what you did with it. Did you create a side hustle that you wanted to become a multinational corporation, or did you use the time to connect with your home, your family, and yourself? The latter is what the new Kurt Vile album, ‘(watch my moves)’, shows us beautifully.
The Guardian described Kurt Vile on this album as ‘happily in the moment’ and there is a feeling of contentment throughout; this album is packed full of personnel and yet there’s often a feeling of Vile alone plugging in and playing.
Even when horns swell on simple opener ‘Goin’ On A Plane Today‘, they have a homely brass band feel, which is doubled down on in the early Laurel Canyon vibe of ‘Flyin (Like A Fast Train)’ which sounds like it was recorded on a porch with verdant foliage spread out in the valley below. It’s quite a mood.
But at 15 tracks, there’s a lot of it. Tracks like the Lindsey Buckingham on ‘Tusk‘ New Wave – touched ‘Hey Like A Child‘ and Country with a guitar sizzle ‘Like Exploding Stones‘ don’t go anywhere, but why would you want to spend time elsewhere?
Pitchfork were right in their review; ‘It’s more like following him as he peruses the house for all the right snacks and just the right book, as he steps into the yard to assess his surroundings and find a sweet spot in the sun…’
it’s about spending time with Kurt Vile. But which Kurt Vile? Well, although ‘Fo Sho‘ has a bubblegum brightness to the brittle twanging, ‘Kurt Runner‘ is only pulses and brassy klaxons and the album closes with the brushes and gentle narrative of ‘Stuffed Leopard‘, some items here sound like scraps, moments of meandering.
It doesn’t sound like the groove and greatness of ‘Bottle It In‘, this is Kurt Vile on his isle, happy in his skin, joyous in his contemplation.
There’s too much of it, sure, but when you’ve settled into that feeling, why would you want it to end? Watch my moves; being delighted when there aren’t that many.