Reissued with the original 7” for the first time since its original pressing, and printed on colored vinyl for the first time ever, Kurt Vile’s Matador debut Childish Prodigy is back this October.
Childish Prodigy is the complete album that KV’s been keeping hidden up his plaid sleeve. He gives us nine absolutely realized cuts (most by hometown master-engineer Jeff Zeigler) with an appropriate level of fidelity that, in a just world, would find the same warm welcome on FM radio that he’s received this year from those with their ears to the underground.
Tunes like “Hunchback” and “Inside Looking Out” show the absolute power the Violators hold. It’s Mike Zanghi dominating his thunder kit on the former, and Michael Johnson banging in a primitive caveman thud on the latter. These tracks dig in and drive hard like Crazy Horse truckin’ along the Autobahn. Kurt’s same steady hands guide the pretty-sounding and vulnerable route of “Overnite Religion” and “Blackberry Song”. The paranoid monologue of “Dead Alive”, and the tense, though sunny “Amplifier” should shame all the lightweight singer-songwriter types into pawning Lucille and patching things up with their fathers.
And then there’s the fan-favorite “Freak Train”. This one’s got all the KV moves... A pounding and relentless rhythm (this time supplied by Roland 707), a web of electric-fingerpicking, chiming swells of feedback by Kurt and Adam Granduciel, and a boss sax solo coaxed from the lungs of Jesse Trbovich. It’s a real propulsive romp through some mutant-filled regional rail network in Vile’s mind.
Let the lazy scribes speculate on Kurt’s influences. Bruce, Suicide, Neil, Spacemen, Patton, Velvets, dozens of under-sung loners with guitars, whoever. But KV doesn’t so much borrow the moves of his elders as he does swallow them up and spit them back as if they were his all along. Listen to him lead the Violators through “Monkey” by the Dim Stars for proof. Each one of these tunes sounded classic the day it was committed to tape. Classic.