In a world where 'folk' is synonymous with plaid clad men sporting big beards and a brace-of-dead-rabbits affectation, thank heavens for Alexander Tucker. Don't get me wrong, Tucker is as anachronistic as they come. Except his output isn't contained to the time period that's spawned a prairie's worth of ukulele strumming songwriters.

Instead, Third Mouth (Tucker's sixth album) extends its inquisitive tendrils all over the place: past, future, here, there (all while taking the A roads to avoid the sprawling, territory hungry city of Mumford).

The album takes its lead from the psychedelic folk of its predecessor (Dortwych). Droning, moaning electronics and heavy-hearted strings abound. Guitars are picked or plucked and Tucker's voice - a lithe, supple presence - is manipulated into various forms: multi-part harmonies, reverberating echoes and a whole choir of singers. From these elements Tucker finds the mid-point between song and soundscape. He may eschew chorus/verse traditionalism but there's nearly always a point where a hook will snag the conscious (the simple key change in 'Glass Axe' for example brings about an unexpected burst of harmonic gorgeousness).

Not so subtle switches can be found just about everywhere. Strange endings set up a tension between past and present; the two states pitted against each other in episodic structures. 'Mullioned View' is marked by graceful harmonies buffeted by looped strings that nag then ease. Without warning these warm, organic sounds collapse into a strange conclusion as Tucker presents a warped, synthetic version of what's gone before. Similarly, 'Window Sill' is rounded out by a minute's worth of falling rain and chiming arrhythmic notes. Even the lovely and straightforward 'A Glass Seahorse' gets 20 seconds of space-agey effects tacked onto its melodic behind.

This juxtaposition is indeed odd and although there's a very Englishness to the more traditional elements of Third Mouth, Tucker never allows the listener to feel comforted by it. From the title-track (inspired by Tucker's mother and her assertion she could talk in tongues) to the sinister funereal jazz of 'Amon Hen', there's a preoccupation with the kind of spirituality that can't be explained through a bunch of greeting card platitudes. This isn't an easy listen by any means.

Some may think the pervading drone and experimentalism of Third Mouth is too esoteric to find a place alongside the current waistcoats and banjo aesthetic. Which is a shame. If we let it, there's enough here to haul us out of that particular pit of nostalgia. Alexander Tucker is almost alone in his ability to prove that folk has somewhere to go and has new stories to tell.