Kurt Vile - B'lieve I'm Goin' Down... (2LP)


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B'lieve I'm Goin Down..., whittles away some of the excesses of previous work while retaining eccentricity, trading ten-minute sprawls with six-strings for woozy five-minute vamps on a piano. Electric guitars aren't entirely absent but they're used for colouring - arriving unexpectedly as a wash of distortion or perhaps a bit of percussion - on a record anchored by acoustic guitars and banjos. Such instruments may suggest B'lieve I'm Goin Down... is an exercise in introspection, another exposed nerve from a sensitive singer/songwriter, but Vile often favors feel over form, so this unfolds with the logic of a dream, details falling into a place so subtly they're felt, not heard. Often, B'lieve seems simple, rolling along with fingerpicked rhythms or barroom piano, and while it's certainly emotionally direct it is an impeccably arranged album beneath its soothing, sleepy surface, with every element assisting in an illusion of deep, shimmering, and alluring melancholy.