A couple of weeks ago, Kurt Vile released another cloudy gem in the collection of psychedelic stoner rock. I can’t say that I was confident that Kurt Vile would be releasing a candidate for his best album yet, since B’lieve I’m Goin Down… was a lot of fun but certainly not his finest record. As I continue to go through Bottle It In, his seventh solo record, I find myself getting drawn further and further into its winding, breathing rhythm. This is Kurt Vile doing what Kurt Vile does best.
As far as I’m concerned, Kurt Vile puts forward his finest music when he lets his songs run on and on. He is a master when it comes to setting up a groove, sinking into it, and exploring musical space. On Bottle It In, we get three tracks coming in at nearly or above ten minutes, with only two coming in around three minutes. These songs introduce themselves with that familiar rolling feel, and give your brain time to play around in each tune. The album has a meandering tone without ever feeling like it’s actually lost.
Kurt Vile says fitfully that “some are one trick ponies, but so am I.” There’s some truth to that lyric in that he isn’t about to deliver an album radically different from his previous ones. The thing with Bottle It In is that he manages to consistently deliver his style in a way that gives every song a distinct personality. “Loading Zones” hits with a bit of a tense edge. “Yeah Bones” gets you jumping around. “Bassackwards” is true to its name, twisting and turning in its groove. “Check Baby” is the album’s angst. The title track is stumbling and nervous. “Mutinies” is stunning in its crystalline beauty. I could go on. The point is that Bottle It In is a unified and seamless album that wanders and evolves for the entirety of its hour-and-eighteen minute run time.
Bottle It In has rapidly become one of my favourite releases of 2018. Let Kurt Vile take you away for a little while.