13 March 2012
Alexander Tucker - Third Mouth
Well, you knew this was coming. Dorwytch hinted (OK, explained) that Alexander Tucker was moving closer and closer towards a kind of English pastoralism and now he’s got to Third Mouth, where the drones and buzzes move still further away from the longer forms of his early albums and head towards smaller, yet exquisitely designed, packages of psychedelic folk. This is like someone’s swallowed Rob Young’s Electric Eden, spent a few long nights reassembling the component parts (alongside a few glasses of wormwood and mead ) and then regurgitated the lot as a fully formed corn dolly. This is a good thing.
There’s places where he’s definitely got a touch of the Vashti Bunions (“A Dried Seahorse”), where it’s 1967 eternal and the fingerpicking and cello trails keep the caravans (and Caravan’s) moving. “Rh.” is meant to be electronics only piece though I keep hearing descending cello notes and heavily filtered drums alongside the drones – it reminds me of a friend who went a little crazy by listening, non-stop, for 48hrs to Bach’s pieces for unaccompanied cello.
I say a little crazy, I mean batshit mental.
He ate several posters of Ian Botham right off his wall. And a fair amount of wallpaper too. He never explained why.
This is not to say that there's craaaazy scrapings here; there's much that is plaintive, meditative, twilight leaning: the tinkles of baby keyboards on “The Glass Axe,” the early (is that a unicorn?) T- Rexisms of “Third Mouth”... and these gently picked figures blend well with the other stuff, the Celtic drones and jaws harpings of “Andromeon,” for instance. In fact, the latter reminds me a little of much-ignored medieval ambient Front Line Assembly side project Will, only without the booming kettle drums.
C'mon. Will. You remember them. They had kinda gabber girl hair and round glasses and long leather coats and played big booming sonatas of the kind of thing that got people a little nervous and convinced that they might be Nazis. Will. You remember. They were good.
It seems unfortunately likely that Alexander Tucker will more or less be ignored again, despite making the best undiscovered 1967 psychfolkrock album you’ll hear all year. You can't help but feel that if he were instead a band and had an associated army of imagery alongside that people would find it easier to get on with; maybe find it easier to buy a t-shirt, write in on their army surplus satchel (Do people still do that? Yes, I saw two people with those kind of scrawled bags in my class this morning. I even saw The Cure written on one of the bags, which made me smile). But none of this changes the fact that Alexander Tucker’s made the album you want those albums in Electric Eden to sound like, an album that’s worthy of much more attention than it’ll get. It's a gentle masterpiece.
I have no idea what Alexander Tucker looks like. After a consistent run of increasingly great albums, I really should. He's building up such a head of steam, such a body of work, that lots of people should know what he looks like.