Smoke Ring for My Halo

  • Record Label: Matador
  • Release Date: Mar 8, 2011
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. Mar 7, 2011
    80
    In an age where angst is delivered with the subtlety of a laser light show, it's nice to hear some good, old-fashioned, smokin'-and-drinkin'-cheap-beers-on-the-porch-with-your-friends-style pessimism.
  2. Mar 11, 2011
    70
    With an occasional chest-bursting "yeeeeeeah", Vile avoids letting his most straightforward, circular songs fall into a stupor. [Apr 2011, p.115]
  3. Mar 17, 2011
    78
    The success, and devil, of Smoke Ring is in the details, however, as the tunes prove intricately textured while still retaining an inherently garage feel, unraveling new elements as they sink in with lethargic weight.
  4. Mar 8, 2011
    80
    A personal, private fourth LP from the Philadelphia native and select pals.
  5. Though it may seem like Vile tends to waver on just how he wants to be perceived, the lack of commitment is nothing if not intensely deliberate.
  6. Mar 8, 2011
    90
    The result is Vile's best record to date, an idiosyncratic amalgam of intimate performance and communal expression - and one that continues to reveal new layers upon repeated listens.
  7. Mar 10, 2011
    70
    To the uninitiated, this kind of '70s-inspired thrum-rock might sound a bit AOR, but given time it reveals its nuances, placing Vile somewhere between a rougher-edged M. Ward and a bluesy Ariel Pink.
  8. Mar 17, 2011
    83
    Vile has slyly written pop that enters one's head without leaving much of a permanent mark; instead of a distraction from one's deeper woes, it's chameleonic accompaniment.
  9. 80
    As much as one would assume that times have changed, Vile is able to supplement his strengths with newfound diversity and very simply, delivers a formidable sophomore album.
  10. Mar 8, 2011
    80
    It's fair to say Smoke Ring...'s reliance on gloom and loneliness rarely lets up. But he's trying to find beauty in it, which I guess is the point.
  11. Mar 8, 2011
    80
    I'm more than happy to take this album as it is, blemishes and all.
  12. Mar 14, 2011
    80
    Vile has -- to paraphrase something that David Foster Wallace said -- his own way of fracturing reality, and it's so true that you'll feel it in your nerve endings.
  13. May 24, 2011
    80
    It's a record with a folky, sometimes psychedelic edge, but it's never self-indulgent or less than focused. In fact, Smoke Ring for My Halo is persuasive evidence that Vile has come fully into his own as a songwriter and musician.
  14. Apr 22, 2011
    80
    Vile's no relic-treasuring throwback, finding a unique, laconic voice of his own among the tangle. [Apr 2011, p.95]
  15. The overall impression is of gloomy landscape paintings with a spooky, residual feeling that God might be hiding behind every cloud or passing tumbleweed - electrifying.
  16. Apr 28, 2011
    90
    Smoke Ring For My Halo might not be for everyone, but it will definitely find a wider audience than anything else in Vile's catalogue.
  17. Mar 7, 2011
    84
    Whether he's channeling the energies of John Fahey or Tom Petty or even Bob Seger, Smoke Ring makes clear that the end result is his alone.
  18. Mar 9, 2011
    70
    This record moves from cautious shine to swirling dark, showing all sides of the dubious kind of redemption hinted at in the album's title, but nothing is ever lost in these layers.
  19. Mar 14, 2011
    75
    It's easy to see Smoke Ring being remembered as the stepping stone to a transcendent piece of work in Vile's discography.
  20. May 18, 2011
    80
    Dark, often opaque, but also full of emotion, this is a gem. [May 2011, p.127]
  21. Mar 8, 2011
    80
    On Vile's fourth LP, the stoner haze lifts a bit, and he settles on a mood: chilled-out but guarded, and wrapped in gorgeous folk-blues guitar-picking.
  22. Mar 8, 2011
    80
    Vile's music is inflected with a special kind of magic, which makes it sound grimy while remaining melodically clean, bored and disinterested while granting you its full attention.
  23. Mar 9, 2011
    83
    Smoke Ring For My Halo is a repetitive album in the best possible sense, even if some of Vile's distinctive sound was shorn off along with the fuzz.
  24. 75
    He's mastered the tuneful shrug, the song that sounds unfinished and tossed off but sticks fast to your brain and keeps revealing a depth you hadn't noticed.
  25. Apr 28, 2011
    70
    The songwriting is strong.
  26. Mar 29, 2011
    80
    The real heart of this record seems to lie in moments of stillness and rest, where strung-out slackerdom attains an almost sacred quality. [Apr 2011, p.88]
  27. Mar 23, 2011
    70
    Here's hoping there's more where this came from. [Feb. 2011, p. 69]
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 24 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Nov 3, 2011
    10
    Album of the Year. The production on songs such as Runner Up's and On Tour is phenomenal. An album to introduce your friends to, and live theAlbum of the Year. The production on songs such as Runner Up's and On Tour is phenomenal. An album to introduce your friends to, and live the songs sound even better with his trademark drawl. Full Review »
  2. May 29, 2011
    7
    Whilst mostly impressive, there are moments of overwrought weariness that portray a self piteous, almost precious characteristic that VileWhilst mostly impressive, there are moments of overwrought weariness that portray a self piteous, almost precious characteristic that Vile can't help but reveal. That said, such self absorption often guides the listener to the complexities of the new millennial stoner/strummer, and one can forgive the odd soul searching moment because overall the rewards outweigh the negatives. http://hackskeptic.com Full Review »