26 September 2023

Watch My Moves

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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

By Kurt Vile, Verve Records/Virgin Music 2022.

Kurt Vile is an American singer/songwriter/producer who was a member of The War On Drugs and has also released an album in collaboration with Courtney Barnett.

His name is not a pseudonym but his actual name.

I always thought it was a play on Kurt Weill the German composer, but I was wrong.

Much of his early work was home recorded and it does seem that he is most comfortable working alone in his own studio, although for Watch My Moves he worked with his backing band The Violators.

The album was recorded in his studio, OKV Central, and produced with the assistance of Rob Schnapf.

Watch My Moves is comprised of eleven songs mostly about the minutia of life and it’s easy to see why Courtney Barnett was attracted to working with him as they are both mining similar soil.

Kurt is a talented songwriter and multi-instrumentalist; his songs often have a quirkiness in their lyrical content as well as an understated deprecating humour.

The dreaminess of tracks such as Like Exploding Stones offer the listener some insight to his personality.

I get the feeling that he takes his music seriously but not himself.

He comes across as a laid-back character.

Many of the songs on this album are mellow like Mount Airy Hill (Way Gone) and they’re built around simple chord structures that he constantly extemporises over with chiming guitars and spacious keyboards.

He includes an interesting cover of the Bruce Springsteen song Wages of Sin which is a departure from the dreaminess and lightness of his songs.

If you like Courtney Barnett’s work, as I do, then I’m confident that you’ll enjoy Watch My Moves.

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