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Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo

  by Carl Bookstein

published: 2 / 3 / 2011

Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo
Label: Matador Records
Format: CD


Masterful and addictive fourth album from magnetic Philadelphia-born singer-songwriter, Kurt Vile

Capturing images from packed suitcases to raindrops falling in a ghost town, Kurt Vile on his latest album creates a tangible visceral world. Vile is a compelling singer songwriter, aware of influences, yet with a signature sound all his own. Born on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Vile now releases his fourth album 'Smoke Ring For My Halo'on Matador Records. The results are positively addictive. 'Baby’s Arms' begins with lovely guitar strumming and Vile’s soothing voice. He brings to mind a young Leonard Cohen or even Nick Drake. The tune is hypnotic: “I will never ever be alone because it’s all in my baby’s hands/ Except for her there aint nothing to latch on to.” Vile starts the album striking the perfect chord with this heartfelt and eloquent love song. 'Jesus Fever' is melodic and catchy. The lyrics fascinate: "When I’m a ghost, I see no reason to run/And I’m already gone.” Vile’s sound at times takes on a warm hazy drug-like quality that brings to mind an audible trace of the Velvet Underground. Kurt Vile is a talented minstrel with a guitar strum and a voice that draws you in. The sound of 'On Tour' hits home with the comfort of a musical armchair, as the tune takes on an autobiographical note: “I got it made most of the time.” The eerie 'Society Is My Friend' features a poignant biting image that repeats like an Indian mantra: “Society is my friend/It makes me lie down in a cold blood bath.” 'Runner Ups' is another strong number by this worthy troubadour whose melodies and lyrics are so well woven. The song finds the singer content with life: “I got everything I need now/That’s fine.” The title track 'Smoke Ring For My Halo' is beautiful, folky and evocative, featuring Vile as a kind of hip guru singing “Pacify the land.” 'Ghost Town' is a mesmerizing closer conjuring 1960s and 1970s influences and capturing images of both sleepwalking and driving around in a ghost town. Against this backdrop, Vile takes a foray into exploring religion: “Christ was born/I was there/You know me/I’m around/Christ was here/You just missed him.” Lyrically intriguing and melodically masterful- Kurt Vile is a magnetic artist for whom I am sure that more great accomplishments await.

Track Listing:-
1 Baby's Arms
2 Jesus Fever
3 Puppet To The Man
4 On Tour
5 Society Is My Friend
6 Runner Ups
7 In My Time
8 Peeping Tomboy
9 Smoke Ring For My Halo
10 Ghost Town
11 Untitled

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Childish Prodigy (2009)
Excellent third album of distorted rock from Philadelphian genius singer-songwriter Kurt Vile, whose seeming amateurish exuberance does not conceal his ability to write a sharp tune

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