Kurt Vile – Speed, Sound, Lonely KV EP Review

Matador – 2020

There’s always been a certain humbling cool around Kurt Vile, often shy and hiding behind his signature flowing locks. And this natural cool has often been displayed itself within Vile’s music, its breezy nature and his ability to create new words and phrases that seem absurd yet feel like they should have always been around; think ‘Bassackwards’ from 2018’s Bottle It In. It only seems right that someone who’s so down to earth would get the chance to record with an artist who he’s long admired and payed homage to in his music, and has sadly now left this earth. John Prines legacy will live on through his vast catalogue of rich and tender music, but this EP serves as a reminder of his influence on not only country but modern indie music in general.

Over the last couple of years Vile had been joining John Prine on stage from time to time, whether it be a support slot or jumping on his set where they would usually duet ‘Speed of the Sound of Loneliness’. It feels bittersweet that Vile has finally shared a cover of this song, but this time Prine wasn’t there. We can only hope he got to hear it before he passed. Not only does this cover show Prine’s immeasurable talent as a songwriter but if you didn’t know he’d written it, it wouldn’t feel out of place on Vile’s Smoke Ring For My Halo album from 2011. Further showcasing Prine’s influence on the indie powerhouse. The main highlight of this EP comes in the form of Vile and Prine’s duet on Prine’s classic ‘How Lucky’. The juxtapostion of Vile’s soft and mellow voice compared with Prine’s ageful rasp feels like a moment of passing down. Prine giving his blessing for Vile to carry on the country legacy.

Kurt Vile has always had an ability to find beauty in simplicity, and new original track ‘Dandelions’ shines with this in an abundance. The dreamy soundscape the Vile creates is effortless, yet magical. Flowing guitar lines and hazy soundscapes lift you out of the mundane of your surroundings and into a warmer, calmer place. “You can throw ’em
Or you can merely hold ’em, Yeah, you can throw ’em, Or you can plain plum hold ’em” Vile sings literally about ‘Dandelions’, but is focusing on the idea that it really is the small things in life that count; there’s no need to overdo it. And whilst ‘Pearls’ might not be the most memorable track of Vile’s but still holds as a reminder that he can still craft a vibrant country, folk centric bouncing love song.

Only a small release from Vile, but it still holds a strong place in his vast and ever growing catalogue of woozy, laid back ballads and spacey sound palettes.

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