Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo

Album Review by Chris Buckle | 18 Feb 2011
  • Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring For My Halo
Album title: Smoke Ring For My Halo
Artist: Kurt Vile
Label: Matador
Release date: 7 Mar

“Shrink myself just like a Tom Thumb and hide in my baby’s hands” sings Kurt Vile on album opener Baby’s Arms, “because except for her there ain’t nothing to latch on to.” A couple of lines are all it takes for Vile to confirm his lyrical talents (it’s a step up from “I got a trumpet/I know where to dump it” at any rate), the clarity of their delivery locating this fourth effort a world away from the Philadelphian’s early lo-fi recordings.

As on Matador breakthrough Childish Prodigy, Vile is backed by the Violators, pushing him further still from the scrappy CD-Rs of his youth, yet existing Vile-ophiles will nonetheless feel right at home amidst Smoke Ring for My Halo’s modern slant on old familiar sounds. Last year, Ariel Pink delivered a similarly-styled collection of accessible melodies cocked askew, and though comparatively straightforward, Vile comfortably matches their glories. [Chris Buckle]