Alexander Tucker - Don't Look Away

by Howard Scott Rating:8 Release Date:2018-08-24
Alexander Tucker - Don't Look Away
Alexander Tucker - Don't Look Away

Alexander Tucker is not your typical singer/songwriter. Tucker’s new release “Don’t Look Away” highlights musical landscapes and thoughtful, mysterious lyrics that allow the listener to form brilliant and specific visions in the mind. Each song is actually more of a short story than a musical number, with the intended meaning not always obvious, but still thought-provoking.

The opening number, “Objects” gives listeners a quick taste of Tucker’s deep baritone voice. This voice, combined with the layered and crafted sound is somewhat reminiscent of the inventors of avant-garde rock, the Moody Blues. There is a very real early Justin Hayward tenor to Tucker’s vocals, and it falls upon the eardrums quite pleasingly.

“Sisters and Me” is highlighted by gorgeous guitar work and intellectual lyrics. The chorus “Does it really matter/that you were made by men/organic computers thinking wide again/does it really matter, we never really spoke again” are way beyond the typical June, moon, spoon rhymes of lesser songsmiths. This guy obviously puts lots of thought into what he is writing.

Three separate instrumentals are on the LP and each has its own mood.  The first, Saddest Summer 2” is a quick two-minute exercise that would sound perfect as a background soundtrack to a romantic chick flick. It has an infectious melody that guides you along and places peaceful and joyous thoughts in the listener’s head. We could all use a few of those these days, and this one just works.

“Citadel” is another fun piece that emphasizes cellos to bring the melody to life. The tune has a very orchestral, almost operatic feel. Obviously, lyrics are not the sole extent of Mr. Tucker’s talents. The influence of Brian Wilson, circa “Pet Sounds” can be heard here. Lots of artists have tried to pull off that sound, but few have done it as well as Tucker has on this one.

The third instrumental of the trilogy is a completely different cup of tea. “Gloops Void (Give It Up)” is five plus minutes of electronic wizardry run amok. Backed by the three word vocal of Nik Void (Carter/Tutti/Void) Gloops seems a bit like an exercise in using all the toys at hand in the studio. Loops, drones and an echoey vocal track give it an end-of-the-world feel that is in no way relaxing. Think “Revolution #9” with much better and more modern recording equipment. Oh, and a female vocalist whose voice doesn’t threaten the molecules in nearby panes of glass, such as was the case with Mrs. Lennon.

The last two cuts on the twelve song offering once again shift gears. The long exploratory lyrics go out the window and the music takes over. The first, “Yesterday’s Honey” is a short ethereal offering with a repetitive chorus of “Nature’s jam is yesterday’s honey/put it in the back/where you know you’ll leave it.” Yeah, not quite as deep as several of the grooves here, but still an aural banquet of sound that makes the listener remember why music can do what it does to the human soul.

The grand finale is titled “ISHUONAWAYISHANAWA” which probably sets a record for most vowels in a one word song title since “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”! The title is chanted throughout the song, giving it a brooding, ritualistic feel. One can easily envision a tribe of hood-covered druids circling Stonehenge under the full moon to this piece. It’s a different way of closing an album, but then this whole album mixes it up from beginning to end.

Tucker is as well known for his talents in creating visual art and comics as he is for his music, (he also created the album cover), and with “Don’t Look Away” if feels like the artist is attempting to combine the two. This isn’t mindless music to be background noise to making dinner. It should be savored in a quiet environment where the brain is allowed to create panoramas to enhance and embrace the sounds awakening the spirit. Where it takes you is for you to decide, but the journey is well worth the time invested.

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