Though they have a lot of hair in common this collaboration would have been hard to predict yet these two songwriters voices intertwine rather well. Neither opens their mouth properly so they both co-drawl over some rather lovely folk rock. Mick Harvey, Warpaint and Dirty Three folk help keep everything smooth.
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Honestly, if I need a breezy rock record of half-hearted energy that sounds like the steam floating out of a cup of coffee… I’ll listen to the Grateful Dead. It’s no offense to the rest of you, that’s just how I feel; that’s just how I’ll meander. This week I have to grant some slackers my attention, though, and I can’t deny it’s a special case: with both stream-of-consciousness rocker Courtney Barnett and literally asleep hairball Kurt Vile coming at me with a combined request, I consider it my responsibility to give them a lazy listen.
While this record literally came about because they ‘jammed together’ and had fun, the good thing about it is that they both have to be awake enough to sing with, whether it’s next to or over one another. It keeps the songs a little more lucid and lived in, because they keep passing over responsibilities -- think of it as two indie slackers doing a pop group with a buncha singers. Their guitars tangle together like two people actually just sitting next to each other and giving it a go: “Let It Go” is wonderfully ramshackle, tethered only by their conversational duet, where they do Q and A before coming together on chorused harmonies.
With their simple, languishing structures, every song feels about five minutes longer than it actually is; therein lies the KV curse. And yet it’s quite lovely: even when it meanders into rawkin’ solos, as on “Fear is Like a Forest”, they bring it back to their core, summery values, humming and doo-dooing into a joyous noise. “Continental Breakfast” is perhaps the best example of their matched approach to hanging out on a Sunday: its shuffled drums, gentle picks and light twangs give them a chance to talk, quietly, about the stresses and blessings in their lives. The way these two speak through their tangled pop music is subtly philosophical, like they're laying down mantras from the couch -- together, their lazy days become oddly poignant.
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