b’lieve i’m goin down
Kurt Vile is a philosophical Philadelphian on b’lieve i’m goin down, the hirsute rocker’s sixth album. “Humming a sad song when I’m alone,” he sings to himself, on “Wheelhouse.” “But you gotta be alone to figure things out sometimes.” Indeed you do, and Vile seems to have figured out that the sanguine trance rock of 2013’s cheerful Wakin on a Pretty Daze didn’t capture the full spectrum of what he has to say. The essential cheerfulness of that album is replaced here by an altogether darker worldview.
Experimenting with varied textures and drum-machine rhythms, he tweaks his musical approach just enough to keep things fresh and deftly delineates existential issues on an album that opens with the songwriter looking in the mirror on “Pretty Pimpin” and not recognizing the man staring back at him. Full of deft finger-picking and dry humor, b’lieve drags a bit on the longer songs toward the end. But when it hits its marks, it peaks very high.
— Dan DeLuca, The Philadelphia Inquirer
There have been other eccentric English electronic-duo brothers to use top-tier vocalists to make their wonky sample-based melodies emotive (no, not the Chemical Bros). Yet there’s something special about Surrey-based siblings Howard and Guy Lawrence, the writing- production-musician team behind Disclosure. With an arsenal of dubstep, garage and house, Disclosure’s first album, 2013’s Settle, was a sampladelic, melodic, sprightly dance-floor smash that introduced the world to Brit crooner Sam Smith.
Rather than rest on its laurels (save for bringing back Smith, who gives “Omen” his tender touch) Disclosure uses fewer samples, makes its electro grooves downbeat and tactile, and keeps each track filled with the human voice. There are still fast-paced house tracks. Yet it’s the slower cuts and name-brand singers that do best on the new album; not so much Lorde’s dismal appearance on “Magnets,” but rather the Weeknd, who turns “Nocturnal” into a sexy, sleepy dream. Good show, bros.
— A.D. Amorosi, The Philadelphia Inquirer