Kurt Vile will catch you unaware with his new record ‘(watch my moves)’

Kurt Vile has never been one to stay inside a box or zone of comfort, but (watch my moves), dare we say, is his most experimental yet.

The more familiar you are with Kurt Vile, the more surprises (watch my moves) will throw at you. Of course, much of the album stays true to the Kurt we know and love, but (watch my moves) isn’t afraid to play around with synths and pop-influenced vocals, while staying grounded in folk.

But while the record may catch you off-guard at points, it’s as comfortable of a listen as ever. Imagine if Australian celebrity chef Maggie Beer visited your home after a full-on week. She gives you a warm embrace, then cooks her signature chargrilled Barossa milk-fed lamb. That’s the level of comfort Vile brings to (watch my moves).

Watch My Moves Kurt Vile

When we say the album might catch you napping, it takes less than three seconds to do so. The opening track Goin on a Plane Today verges on having the energy of a show tune. It’s clean, driven by melodic guitar, and garnished by a section of horns. Vile keeps this track short and sweet. Extremely sweet. It’s incredibly endearing and for lack of a better word, wholesome.

We would have been extremely satisfied if Flyin (like a fast train) ended 40 seconds into the song. Don’t get us wrong, we’re so glad it keeps going, but the gorgeous guitar intro is to die for. Vile keeps those beautiful little acoustic intricacies throughout, matched with the poetic vocals that are a hallmark of his music.

Ever wondered what Kurt Vile would have sounded like if he was a synth-lord? Open up YouTube or Spotify (or just watch the embed below) and hit play on Palace of OKV. You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking this track was a collaboration with Mac DeMarco, and you’ll know what we mean as soon as you listen for yourself. It carries a style we haven’t really heard from Kurt before, and he completely nailed it.

The lead single and lengthiest song on the record, Like Exploding Stones, trots along, with grounded layers reminiscent of b’lieve i’m goin down, levitated by the shimmering synthesiser. The seven-minute standout expresses simple lyrics that are arguably catchier than Vile’s other writing, but god is it palatable. Usually, Vile is the artist drawn as a comparison when describing other musicians, but for the sake of celebrating the craft of Australian artists, this track really shows a likeness to Angus Stone’s Dope Lemon.

The Philadelphia-based musician scoots his usual boots on the tracks Hey Like a ChildMount Airy Hill (Way Gone), and Cool Water, leaning into his world-class instrumentalism and storytelling. 

Other than giving the mental image of Jesus zooming down a zip-line, Jesus on a Wire explores melodies you might hear in a track by The Middle East, with backing vocals that could be described in the same way. Plus, this track has one of those outros that leaves you with no choice but to start the song once more from the beginning, to experience the beauty all over again. 

Vile brings back the synths on Fo Sho, creating sci-fi sounds, backed by trademark Vile guitar. It’s fuzzy, but patches of sunny vocals still manage to shine through the haze.

While the final track, Say the Word is more guitar-driven, it still features leering synths, that creep up on the acoustic plucks and solo 

(watch my moves) is out now, stream or purchase here.