Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Record Review: Kurt Vile - Childish Prodigy

Two Kurt Vile posts back-to-back?! Geez, this guy must be good.

For Stomp and Stammer:

Kurt Vile
Childish Prodigy


With a dirty buzz and a watery echo on every vocal, Kurt Vile, Philly's self-proclaimed "Constant Hitmaker" has released his second LP of fuzzed-out noise pop, this time via Matador. It's the follow-up to his debut, uh, Constant Hitmaker, and it's the kind of music that's got both bile (that's "bile" with a B!) and beauty behind it even through the delayed stadium sound present on every track, from leadoff "Hunchback" onward. It's as if he sings from one second in the past and one second in the future, a startlingly effective way to lend an all-encompassing feel to what is ultimately a low-fi effort.

Despite the raunchy recording, Vile's songs are anything but gross. The record's brighter numbers, "Overnite Religion," "Blackberry Song" and the so-gorgeous-it's-not-fair "Heart Attack," are all punchy acoustic guitar and tambourine and pretty keys and unadulterated joy. Vile breaks into psychotic falsetto intermittently, sounding deliberately and charmingly insane through all the songs' washing layers. "Heart Attack," for me the album's standout, is a small song, if that makes sense; that is, it's only a surprising chord progression and a slurring vocal delivery away from being unremarkable, but that distance has suddenly become acres and it seems now impossible that it ever could've been ordinary...[Read more]

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