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June 5, 2011 / rocksandgravel

Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo

I put a big tick on my wish list when a very lovely someone sent me the Kurt Vile album having read my post about the  lunchtime Rough Trade ‘mini’ gig. I am a habitual skipper when it comes to new albums- I tend to go about them 2 or 3 tracks at a time, however with this one, I listened to it right through in one go.

There’s something about his warm, easy going voice, thick with philly twang that adds to a certain warmth and likeable- loser charm about him. There are certain throwbacks to the likes of Tom Petty and Springsteen in the riffs and in the autobiographical lyrics that (presumably) draw upon said feelings of small town ennui (Ghost Town), ‘sticking it’ (Puppet To The Man), and battling neuroses about an object of affection (‘Peeping Tomboy’). Raw qualities in the composition punctuate the laid back vocals; audible fret scrapes in ‘Smoke Ring for My Halo’ make my stomach flip, whilst some of the heartier riffs like in ‘Puppet to The Man’ hammer home the point as he sneers at expectations of submission to societal norms, i.e. the 9-5, heads down existence.

I grew up in a small town and of course there is nothing new about saying how incredibly boring it can be, especially if you’re a shy in-betweener and not particularly great at anything. Whilst its not the type of album that would provoke triumphant fist pumps or compel working class men to hug each other, it still oozes anti hero charm. I could listen to it all day.

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