In many ways, Kurt Vile’s Matador Records debut, Childish Prodigy, is a work in progress. There’s a noticeable split between the swamp rock of a track like “Hunchback,” where he’s backed by his band, The Violators, and the ramble-tamble, electric folk which comprises the bulk of the album. As a result, Childish Prodigy, sometimes feels like a greatest hits album for an artist who has yet to chart a hit, even in the Pitchfork ripple effect, top of the music blog charts kind of way. Still, when Vile is on, the man is on. Take “Freak Train,” for example, a song which owes its genesis to krautrock, classic rock, and displaced troubadours. This ode to gettin’ home fits more guitar notes in four bars than most underground folkies deem fit for a four minute song, making it not only a meandering, mesmerizing, and memorable ride, but also one which you won’t ever want to end.
YOUTUBE: Kurt Vile – Freak Train
Kurt Vile’s Childish Prodigy is out now on Matador Records.