Life's a Beach
(So Outta Reach)
So Outta Reach is polished with the same sonic cloth as the excellent Smoke Ring for My Halo released eight months prior. (These six songs are the same bonus tracks that appear on the deluxe edition.) These compositions share other qualities with that album, including superb guitar work, muted drums, reverb, and Kurt Vile’s recognizable vocals matched to effortless melodies and wry lyrics. “The Creature,” with its elaborate fingerpicking, is a stunner that would have fit nicely on Smoke Ring. The rest are simply good songs that deserve to be heard. “It’s Alright” rides a chugging riff that builds up power as it goes. “Life’s a Beach” and its title-track counterpart share some lyrics, as well as a general bouncy vibe. “Laughingstock” is a rugged rocker anthem with some of the album's best guitar playing. And on a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Downbound Train,” Vile sings it fairly straight yet makes it his own with a wall of filthy guitars.