Alexander Tucker 2x7" reviewed by Luc Rodgers

Music Reviews
Alexander Tucker 2x7" reviewed by Luc Rodgers
Oct 6, 2008, 22:11



As part of ATP's beautifully packaged, and pricey, custom made 7” series, noted British psych brother Alexander Tucker chose four songs, some old and some new, to match. Preceding albums, 2005's Old Fog, 2006's Furrowed Brow, and 2008's Portal, were dense, building, and layered, each with their own specialties (as time wore on the inevitable song structure reared its melodic head) but were threaded together with the same heart and blurry mind.

Originally released on the Old Fog LP, “Phantom Rings” differs this time around only in that his main idea is swirled around the mouth for a few minutes, letting each aspect pierce each bud, and then spit out. The tasting sheet says, “Eh,” though the build does get a bit tense by the end. But then one just finds the end.

“Veins to the Sky” is already a step up as the nakedness of (maybe) a single guitar and his voice, resting in a falsetto not unlike ultimate psych-pop-weirdo Bobb Trimble, understood and direct. The shimmering, processed mandolin eschews in the return to the original tome, now with a commanding but gentle string hum carrying him softly into your living room. It is, unfortunately, the most satisfaction found in the four songs.

As his guts groan out “Rodeo in the Sky,” a cover of fellow Brit psych princess, Fursaxa, one can only imagine a dismal open mic night at the local tranny bar. Sure, the gentle strumming would probably be absent from said event, as would the inevitable layering and matched plucking of delayed guitars and mandolin, but the voice seems strained and untrained. The repetition yields nothing but a yawn and a trip to the kitchen to grab the snacks for your bored guests.

“Florence Blue,” named for the locale of the house where the 8-track hides (Florence St.) and his mood at the time (er, blue), seems promising as it dwells in the lowlands stomping with no drums and slithering albeit with legs. With the perfect setting being an eternal freefall, the impossibility of such a thing, unfortunately, makes the entire track moot.

It is obvious Tucker has a talent (the artwork for the release, by his own hand, is quite good) but is exercised in a way that seems narrow, kitschy, and saddening. In the end, one wants to cheer for him, egg him on, but the flatness of everything is just so that no one has any room for more humdrum. [All Tomorrow's Parties]

-Luc Rodgers

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