Album Review: Kurt Vile – it’s a big world out there (and i am scared) EP

With this year’s Wakin On A Pretty Daze, Kurt Vile’s spacey take on ’70s guitar rock and Americana officially came around full circle. The songs are strange-sounding yet comfortable, basking in the warm familiarity of your old Neil Young and Bruce records, but coated with a cryptic psych rock finish. Everyone seems fascinated with unlocking their inner Springsteen these days, but Vile (along with his friends and former bandmates in The War on Drugs) has had more success than many in transforming those classic styles into something his own.

But while Wakin On A Pretty Daze offered plenty to chew on, fans can take pleasure in the fact that there’s still some untapped source material from the record’s sessions to dig into. it’s a big world out there (and i am scared) arrives just over seven months after Wakin, but it’s an EP that’s cut from the same musical cloth. Comprised of seven outtakes from those sessions, this new EP is another solid dose of heartland paranoia courtesy of Vile and his backing band, the Violators.

“You added on my day,” Vile sleepily indicates on “Never Run Away”, and that’s an apt way of looking at the EP. Less a new offering than an extension, this is a short stack of druggy pop nuggets that builds on its predecessor’s strengths. Elsewhere, there are short sonic experimentations (“NRA Reprise”, “Wedding Budz”), foggy, Uncle Tupelo-inspired daydreams (“The Ghost of Freddie Roach”), and mid-tempo numbers shaded with hazy ambiance (“Snowflakes Extended”). The songs on it’s a big world out there mesh together almost seamlessly, making for a fluid, coherent listen that dispels the stigma often associated with leftover session tracks. In the end, the EP gives more evidence as to just how locked in Vile and the Violators were during the Wakin sessions.

Essential Tracks: “Never Run Away”, Snowflakes Extended”, and “The Ghost of Freddie Roach”


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