All Music: "'Trees Outside the Academy' goes even deeper into that meditative territory, focusing on Moore's acoustic guitar textures and songwriting in a nimble way that underscores that this is his album… the album's good-natured sprawl is so appealing that it makes its listeners feel like friends, too."
No Ripchord: "'Trees Outside the Academy' sparkles with an eclectic (yet accessible) sound that has my early vote for Album of the Year. "
Prefix Mag: "Ultimately, 'Trees Outside the Academy' will most likely be remembered as Moore's most personal solo album, not because he sang with anymore emotion than anything he did with Sonic Youth, but because within its twelve songs he tackled many facets of music that interest him."
Childish Prodigy was a compendium of sorts). Smoke Ring For My Halo is a gorgeously layered record. Ranging from the tender breezy folk in “Jesus Fever” to the tuff urban guitar riff of “Puppet To The Man,” Vile's distinctive Philly-accented vocal ties together a sweeping & evocative project - a true American psychedelic folk album.
This is no pastoral listening experience however - when Vile sings, “society is my friend: he makes me lie down in a cool bloodbath" he sounds both exhausted and distanced from the ringing harmonics of his guitar and Mike Zanghi's pounding drums. Even the gentler songs, such as “On Tour” and “Baby's Arms” have a distinctly dark lyrical tone. The closest that Vile gets to some kind of acceptance is in the central track, the rueful “In My Time" "I know when we get older, I'm dying, but I got everything I need here now, and that's fine, now... that's fine.
Recorded at the Magic Shop by John Agnello, the album is a massive step forward for one of the country's most beloved (not least by other musicians) rock songwriters.