Kurt Vile: Wakin on a Pretty Daze

Matador Records

After years of lo-fi garage-pop fuzz, guitarist extraordinaire Kurt Vile (ex-War on Drugs) broke through commercially with the more laconic, neo-psych approach of 2011's Smoke Ring for My Halo. His fifth album continues blending homey '60s psych-folk acoustic guitar, lightly echoing the Dead, with noisy cloudbursts of electric thunder, channeling both Neil Young and '90s alt-rock. The latter becomes apparent in the Dream Syndicate-esque "KV Crimes" and the catchy swagger of "Never Run Away" - two of the album's shortest songs. Six of the 11 other numbers surpass six minutes, yet even the longest tracks, which bookend the album, steer clear of any and all mind-numbing jam band wankery. Hooks crisscross Vile's sativa-soaked introspection like Christmas lights, fostering a cheery and half-lidded languor. (4 out of 5 stars)