Kurt Vile just about matches Mac Demarco for the title of indies’ resident gunslinger, possessing the tri-fector of touring, releasing and somehow being everywhere in the indie world at the same time. The difference between Demarco and Vile however, will always be the musical edge the former War on Drugs man has. Unlike with Demarco’s release, Another one in August, which chose to extend the train of thought the artist was on with Salad Days; B’lieve takes off from Vile’s busy 2013 of the widely acclaimed Waking on a Pretty Daze and the anonymous ‘its a big world out there (and i’m scared)’.
Vile’s at his best when he give himself the breathing room to enjoy spending time in his own songs, like with Daze’s hazy, open guitar riffs and winding melody’s. This part of the game is still here, Vile this time around however relaxes control of structure and becoming more introspective to deliver a neat collection songs that are personal and gig-ready. The songs on the album all start meandering before chorusing together in an almost triumphant musical assemblage, the instruments (of which there are a surprising variety) all accommodate each other so well under Vile’s southern twang.
It’s a real show of how far he has come, now able to work with his band to the extend that his vocal work is given room to almost break into conversation at times. Each song is a passage of thought, and thankfully the record is better for it. With every album, Vile seems more like the seasoned songwriter his music clearly aspires to, still able to find and solidify his own quirks but integrating them into his sound so well that we get what really is a fresh take on the alt-country wagon. Its more vibrant, less beige if you will.
It’s this vision Vile has of his sound, that in many ways has paid off, which brings the album into fault at times. Most songs on the album fund a healthy balance between what Vile is trying to say musically and lyrically, but there are song like Lost my head there, which stray off a little into obscurity. A solid album nonetheless, and worth a listen to any fan of guitar music.