When it was announced last year that Kurt Vile would be signing to a major label, it was difficult to envision him going down the same path as his former bandmate, The War on Drugs’ Adam Granduciel, in making a sonic shift to a sound that genuinely felt like it belonged there. Whereas ‘Lost in the Dream’ heralded a move towards the kind of classic rock that doesn’t sound out of place among that genre’s pantheon, Kurt’s signing with the Universal-owned Verve simply felt like the latest unorthodox move in a career littered with them. Sure enough, ‘(watch my moves)’ remains very much a Kurt Vile record, sprawling in length and gorgeously unhurried in its pace. Standouts includes the woozy ‘Like Exploding Stones’, which plays like a paean to 1960s Laurel Canyon rock, as well as the twinkling prettiness of ‘Jesus on a Wire’ and the slide-driven ‘Cool Water’. This is unquestionably one of Kurt’s easier-going records - at times, there’s a poppiness to it that brings to mind ‘Lotta Sea Lice’, his collaborative album with Courtney Barnett - and at times, you wonder whether the sheer mellowness of it all can actually mask the skill with which he constructs his soundscapes. For an album winding in length, it doesn’t outstay its welcome; if the jump to a major means more lovingly fashioned breeziness like this, then so much the better.
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