Review // Kurt Vile – ‘Wakin On A Pretty Daze’


After the longest winter in the UK in a very long time, spring finally seems to be upon us – everyone is starting to eat ice lollies and feel a bit relieved and Philadelphian singer / songwriter has provided you with the perfect soundtrack to continue to welcome this sunshine into your life. Wakin on a Pretty Daze is Vile’s fifth studio solo album and it’s one of the strongest releases of the year.

The album opens with its deliciously mellow tempoed title track which is awash with chilled out psychedelic riffs whilst the lyrics are about how uplifting a beautiful day can be. This is certainly relatable to the spring feeling sweeping the nation right now and he manages to get away with not sounding cliché or cheesy throughout the whole nine and a half minute song but absolutely beautiful. This already is an achievement in itself.

‘KV Crimes’ is a bit more upbeat psych-rock affair and what I’d imagine a great driving song to sound like (I don’t have a car any more so I can’t test water on this one – feel free to and report back yeah?).

‘Girl Called Alex’ is a bit more folk inspired but whilst riffs are replaced with picked chords, vocals are just as dreamy and to Vile’s signature style. It’s more of a chill out number than a waking up in the morning and embracing the day kind of song but it’s an incredible one to get up and amongst if you’re anything like me and have music / candles time regularly.

‘Pure Pain’ starts pretty upbeat but then there’s a weird yet wonderful break a minute in where it goes a lot more folky whilst also being layered with slide guitar that adds to the bewitching surrealism .

‘Shame Chamber’ has a classic sixties rock vibe reminiscent of some of The Rolling Stones’ softer material and closes with a fading, long guitar solo and a vocal sample.

‘Snowflakes Are Dancing’ continues in this style and also perhaps shakes off the psychedelia a little, heading the style more towards indie pop.

‘Air Bud’ switches modes completely with its bizarre crackly My Bloody Valentine-esque electronic riff and a high pitched sample but also still being distinctly a guitar based track. It’s probably the most clever song on the album as there’s a lot going on yet it’s not overbearing and the listener is never lost. There’s ‘whoops’, there’s string samples and lots more interesting stuff in there that all gels perfectly well together. It’s quite magical.

The album terminates with ‘Goldtone’ which is a calmer, more stripped down song that has some lush slide guitar quietly flowing through its glorious depths throughout whilst also featuring some complimentary female vocals. It’s a charming conclusion to an absolutely stunning album.




‘Wakin On A Pretty Daze’  is out now on Matador Records. 

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