Kurt Vile “(watch my moves)”: Album Review

posted April 20, 2022 in

Listening to Kurt Vile’s music is like laying on a hammock on a sunny day without a care in the world, often conjuring up images of nature and relaxation. 

This psych-pop and indie folk-rock artist from Philadelphia reigns supreme in every aspect of his genre and in his newest album release, “(watch my moves)”.

Vile freewheeled into the music scene with a hazy, almost woozy, vocal style and a knack for songwriting that continues to boggle and blow away the minds of those who listen to his music. 

After forming the indie rock band, The War on Drugs, Vile began his solo career in 2008 and made his debut with the LP “Constant Hitmaker.”

He started to form a cult following soon after, and from there his career launched, even opening for folk and country legends like John Prine and Neil Young. Listeners will notice that he actually alludes to his heroes on the first track of the album, “Goin On a Plane Today.”

Although never claiming to be the “greatest singer-songwriter of his generation" in comparison to more critically acclaimed artists he’s taken after, such as Pavement, Smog and Beck. Vile shows off confidence in his more relaxed, back-porch style of music, showing complete comfort and content in his own work. 

Audiences will pick up that listening to “(watch my moves)” is like walking shoulder-to-shoulder with the man himself, a warm and charming experience that lets the listener take a peek into the life of Vile. 

“Like Exploding Stones” is a song that highlights the more Zen and psychedelic aspects of his songs, with lyrics mentioning things like “feedback in my cranium” and “pain ricocheting in my brain like exploding stars.”

The flow and transition from each song to the next is smooth. A few songs carried the same chord progressions and sort of stuck to that same framework of his other records like “Wakin On A Pretty Daze” or “Bottle It In.” 

Overall, the album is actually quite varied and far from boring. 

Vile often jumps around from fuzzy feedback-driven tunes to more folky and acoustic arrangements in songs like “Palace of OKV in Reverse” and “Cool Water.”

How the indie-rocker manages to continue to persist and deliver that same charm in each and every one of his works is amazing. 
Long-time fans will notice that this latest release of his is certainly not his best work but shows off the raw beauty of his psych-indebted sound, restoring faith in the indie music scene for more avid music listeners. 

Rating: 8/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Tracks: “Like Exploding Stones” and “Jesus on a Wire”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Tracks: “Kurt Runner”

Jon Mead is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email jkm6040@psu.edu.

About the Contributors

Jon Mead's photo

Jon Mead