Kurt Vile has unveiled a new track from his upcoming album Watch My Moves. Vile’s latest offering, ‘Hey Like a Child’, comes ahead of the full album release on April 15th and follows his last single ‘Like Exploding Stones’. Featuring tightly interlaced guitar lines, tactical pitch bends, and monotone vocals, ‘Hey Like a Child’ sees Vile deliver one of his most enchanting and gloriously groggy tracks to date.
Speaking about the upcoming album, which features collaborations with the likes of James Stewart, Cate Le Bon and Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa, Vile said: “My albums always progress from one to the next just by me getting older physically and spiritually. I think my last record [2018’s ‘Bottle It In’] was pretty epic, and on this one I’ve had even more time to make it. I’ve got the energy of a new label, and I don’t feel as much in a rush. I recorded more than enough songs and then just put all the best ones on this album, so it’s perfect.”
Vile went on to explain how lockdown altered his songwriting: “In the early times [of the pandemic], honestly I was relieved in a selfish way,” he began “I was exhausted, so I was thinking ahead to disappearing into my own studio world. But then obviously there were all kinds of uncertainties. Losing people like [former collaborator] John Prine, that was just a nightmare.”
Vile added that the forced isolation of the pandemic also affected the tone of his writing, forcing him to adopt a more optimistic perspective or risk going insane: “I was stressed by the weight of the world, but pretty much all of my songs take a certain turn where there’s stress and darkness and then I pull into the light. There’s stress coming down on my brain and then you just notice some beautiful tree, or you turn your head to the light. Life is a struggle, but you’ve just got to try and turn your head to the light, man.”
It’s this dual perspective that gives ‘Hey Like a Child’ its chimeric mood. While Vile uses the tight click of a snare to ground his guitar lines in a distinctly upbeat groove, his vocals seem ever so slightly detached, perhaps even mournful. It’s as though he’s looking in retrospective, colouring the song with a nostalgia that is at once heart-warming and curiously devastating.