When hearing that our favourite Philadelphian Kurt Vile had just dropped his seventh studio album, we couldn’t have been any more excited. Bottle It In circulates through ideas of home, travel and complexities of human emotions through a multitude of genre inspirations. This record is definitely one fans and lovers of all music should get their hands on.
Delayed guitars introduce the opening track ‘Load it In’. Kurt’s smooth. His cool vocals re-introduce us to his signature conversational delivery, giving the track an honest feeling, paving the way for the rest of the album. The mix of electric as well as the jangly acoustic guitar gives the instrumentals an interesting texture.
Next track, ‘Hysteria’ provides a cool change of pace, introducing a mix of synthetic drums as well as acoustic and electric guitars played at a slower tempo. The only let down is the stark similarity between tracks one and two of the record, but Kurt definitely makes up for it as the record progresses.
‘Bassackwards’ reflects the same sound. Together with 'Hysteria', the two would be ideally accompanied by a beer on a balcony on a late afternoon. Both are juxtaposed entirely by the upbeat ‘Yeah Bones’ and the melancholic ‘One Trick Ponies’.
A new favourite road trip track, ‘Rollin’ With The Flow’ follows. It brings out the best of Kurt’s sound. Played at a steady pace and with an uplifting melody, this is a fantastic and easy-listening centre-point.
‘Check Baby’ changes the vibe yet again. A bass-heavy synth underlies this badass track. A simple yet intricate guitar solo played over the top. Kurt shows us a whole new side to his vocal delivery, singing in a much deeper, harsher, tone. He sounds very old school rock, reminiscent almost of Johnny Cash. The drums driving the track are much less bright and come crashing out with the same sense of rhythm as someone walking somewhere they're determined to be. These bass-heavy drums are supported by heavily distorted guitars and synthesizers, separating this track from the jangly sonics of the other tracks.
Title track ‘Bottle It In’, gives off an almost unsettling vibe with the shuffle drums accompanied by a simple piano melody which almost doesn’t seem to ‘fit’ the song. This reflects the uncertainty of the lyrics, with lines such as ‘Don’t tell them that you love them, for your own sake. Because you never know when… your heart’s gonna break’. This idea of uncertainty is carried throughout the production of the 10-minute track, introducing a large instrumental at the end, featuring many unexpected instruments, including almost-brass sounding drones.
Kurt plays with time signatures with the following track ‘Mutines’ as well as the heavy use of chorus-y and atmospheric guitars, giving the song a very dream-like feel. The pace then changes entirely again with the banjo introduction for ‘Come Again’, giving the album an interesting country-rock kind of sound. Closing track ‘Cold Was The Wind’ and ‘Skinny Mini’ bring the pace back down before distorted ending soundtrack ‘(bottle back)’.
Words by Emily Hollitt