Appearances can be deceptive. The new Kurt Vile album (I would say solo album, but he only helped give The War on Drugs their start in 2008 and hasn't been involved since) opens with a nine-and-half-minute track and closes with a 10-minute-long one. More than half of the album's songs are more than six minutes long, and contribute to an overall 70-minute running time. This would usually point to Wakin on a Pretty Daze (with an intentional missing apostrophe) being an overly ambitious, proggy work. It turns out that it's neither of those things; what it is, is an album which luxuriates in its length. It's a sunny-sounding psych-pop record, essentially. He's definitely learned from his previous album, Smoke Ring for My Halo and its subsequent companion EP So Outta Reach. This record is the sort which sounds good at any time of year, but is best enjoyed at the present time, with April getting into full swing, even if a proper spring time hasn't really been seen this year.

It isn't a bright and brash sounding album with the sunshine dialled up to 11, however; for all its accessibility it remains a remarkably restrained work, and the lengthier songs manage not to overstay their welcome, thanks to the straightforward performance of Vile's backing band, who give the music what it needs and nothing more, creating songs which ebb and flow beautifully; while there's no overarching concept to the album, songs such as 'Pure Pain' and the sublime 'Too Hard' work wonderfully placed next to each other. The latter is a triumph on a compositional and musical level, a laconic track which stretches to eight minutes, but if it ended the album with an instrumental coda half its length added on, you wouldn't hear a word out of me - it's absolutely spectacular, and arguably the high point of an album which is already full of highlights.

The whole album rumbles along at a steady pace, light on flourishes, complex-sounding songs like 'Wakin on a Pretty Day' rendered beautifully simple, and the powerful rock of 'KV Crimes' sounding great in the moment, even if it gets a little lost in between two epics; moving it down to precede penultimate track 'Air Bud' may have helped matters, but this is a minor quibble. When Vile ups the tempo just slightly for 'Snowflakes are Dancing' and the synth-tinged 'Was All Talk' - whose chorus of, "There was a time in my life when they thought I was all talk" sounds particularly apt when one considers how far Vile has come - it still sounds completely natural. There's a curious sort of organic feeling to the whole thing, one which is difficult to describe. It's best summed up by the breezy closer, 'Goldtone', which strikes a balance between introspectiveness and freedom from cares, its infectious melody countered somewhat by Vile's wistful-sounding vocal. He should be looking to the future, though - by the sound of this album, a record which sounds oddly timeless, there are plenty of pretty days ahead of him.