It's fairly obvious when an EP is comprised solely of leftovers from an album; the style is relatively the same, and the songs just simply aren’t as good. Now I can’t say that this is necessarily true of Kurt Vile’s So Outta Reach EP, but at the very least, it falls victim to following too closely on the heels of an album so beloved by critics and fans alike.

Vile’s early 2011 effort, Smoke Ring For My Halo, is simply amongst his best work. It takes the songcraft that early works hinted at and finally places them in a medium untainted by the reverb and distortion that he used to hide behind. Sure, he sounded quite a bit like what was going on with 70s folk, but in today’s musical climate his voice is refreshing, if a bit depressing and self deprecating. All of that isn’t to say that none of those qualities are present on So Outta Reach - they certainly are. ‘The Creature’ could very well have had a place on Smoke Ring For My Halo, its fingerpicked guitar part is somewhat reminiscent of tracks like ‘Peeping Tomboy’. It’s just that everything that 'The Creature' tries to accomplish was done slightly better on Smoke Ring Kurt Vile is still an incredible songwriter, these songs just don’t have the magnetism of hooky tracks like 'Jesus Fever' or the ambiance of earlier tracks like 'My Sympathy'. So Outta Reach is an extension of the newfound focus of making pop songs that Vile explored on Smoke Ring, and the results are good, just not as good.

The second track, ‘It’s Alright’, proves a bit of a highlight, returning to the crunch of the Childish Prodigy days, while still maintaining Vile’s unique lyrical voice, but there’s still something about it that leaves it lying a little bit short of his previous efforts. What ‘Freak Train’ might have lacked in polish, it made up for in the mood it created, and that mood while, present here, is certainly less apparent. And that’s true throughout, the track that follows is much more of a slow burner, but it still seems to lack some of the authenticity that marked early efforts.

It might be cheesy to say that a slightly disappointing Kurt Vile EP is still a good EP, but that’s the truth. The songwriting is as solid as usual, and it feels like a natural extension of the Smoke Ring For My Halo sounds, it just lacks a certain intangible that Smoke Ring had and as such it won’t be the Kurt Vile release that gets the most spins on the ol’ turntable.