By Stephen Lee, November 2 2018 —
After three years, Kurt Vile has released another solo project, though it doesn’t feel like he’s gone anywhere. Bottle It In, Vile’s latest release, propels him back to the forefront of indie rock, a spot he’s very familiar with. The album continues his journey, bringing something new yet familiar to the listener.
Vile’s signature whimsy and introspective lyrics are bountiful on Bottle It In, while his mix of electric and acoustic guitar work continue to dazzle. Single “Loading Zones” treats listeners to his timeless electric solos. With his white Fender Jaguar hanging from his neck and his brown curls draping his face, Vile has cemented himself in the zeitgeist as an indie-rock icon.
While the album’s singles are strong, Bottle It In is best consumed in its entirety. The album is a journey through the depths of Vile’s introverted personality. Drawn-out ramblings like “Bassackwards” and “Skinny Mini” wind through the mix to create a hazy atmosphere, contrasting perfectly with more upbeat, punchier songs like “Yeah Bones” and “Come Again.”
The whole album floats around the listener, enticing them into a long evening of chilled-out jams and airy vibes. The songs take the listener from a sunny day to a dark, warm room with a glass of wine. It’s as if the album is a map of Vile’s mind, showing both his light-hearted and deeply profound thought processes, each balanced to create a memorable set of songs.
Vile returned to working with his long-time backing band The Violators after extensive touring both solo and with fellow indie rocker Courtney Barnett. He and his band sound incredibly tight on this album, with the quartet producing a lush palette of tones. Vile’s latest release channels the musical freedom of Lotta Sea Lice, his collaboration with Barnett, and the experienced repertoire of his extensive catalog of solo albums to create his most well-rounded work to date.
With its eclectic blend of acoustic and electric music — a balance of long-winded jams and bright, nostalgic singles — Bottle It In is the perfect album for a night of reading and vino. It’s an album that necessitates a front-to-back listen to fully enjoy. It’s the best of Vile’s career and it encapsulates why he will be remembered as a legendary artist for years to come.