Alexander Tucker is a man with many friends in high places. He has collaborated with Sun O)))'s Stephen O'Malley, played at the Tate Britain for performance artist Lali Chetwynd, and toured with well known Noise outfits such as Fuck Buttons and Boris. Yet he has remained a relatively unknown musician throughout much of his four album career. The inaccessibility of much of his earlier work has had its part to play in his lack of commercial appeal. Appearing on stage dressed as a yeti with glowing eyes might work if you are a member of the Flaming Lips, but in front of a crowd of twenty, down a basement in East London it just comes across as a bit weird.

Although with each release he has moved towards more melodic pastures, the music he creates could hardly be described as "of this time". His latest album, Dorwytch, is Tucker at his most accessible to date. A thick soup of effects pedals, cello, guitar and percussion make up the lengthy fifty-five minutes that dips its toes into Pentangle inspired English folk, disjointed Eno- esque vocals and loop based sound collages.

The added percussion does its bit to give some of the folk based songs more structure, but the more important contribution is made by the vocals of Jess Bryant. The added dimension Jess brings to melodies like 'Red String' helps Tucker achieve a lighter tone, one which is often lacking when he goes it alone. Alexander's own voice is one that you will either love or hate. It's a strange mixture of Maynard Keenan of Tool and Richard Thompson, and has the potential to make or break a song, depending on your viewpoint. After three years in the making it's easy to understand why Dorwytch is so thickly packed with layered textures, but over the course of the full album the consistency in this dense sound is part of its undoing. Dorwytch would benefit enormously from a more focused running time and the removal of a few songs that are based on half baked ideas. 'Mildew Stars' would not be missed; it goes for an eccentric looping vocal refrain in very much the same vein as Taking Tiger Mountain era Eno, but whereas Eno's music pops and fizzes with unusual melodies and inventive lyrics, Tuckers offerings often self destruct under a similar inspection.

The publicity buzz around Alexander Tucker coins the phrase "doom chamber pop!" this is perhaps wishful thinking on the record label's behalf. Although it's a snappy term, the reality makes a difficult listen. When the basis for so much of your music is created by minor tuned folk arrangements, doom is an almost impossible sentiment to portray. A more accurate description would perhaps be glum. That's not to say that the darker side of folk cannot be enjoyable, Nick Drake shows more than anyone else what can be achieved with those elements as lyrical themes. However, Tuckers lyrics tend to preach and about what I'm not sure he even knows at times.

Overall Dorwytch is an inconsistent offering; moments of exceptional beauty are often equalled by moments of extreme mediocrity. Alexander Tucker possesses all the tools for the job; at times it seems he just needs to use them a little more sparingly.

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