Alexander Tucker has filled in on guitar with such stalwart eccentrics as Jackie-O Motherfucker and Bardo Pond, but he now has his own album, Old Fog, to boast. For most the album, Tucker has a foot planted firmly in the medieval kickback style that Pat Gubler's p.g. six thrives on. In fact, for most of this album I couldn't help but think about how much I'd rather be listening to p.g. six. However, Tucker tends to have cleaner production, and his sound is not unlike Stand Up-era Jethro Tull, while Gubler's gritty recordings make his albums sound like a distinct key to the past.
Tucker shines when he can get away from the medieval pratfalls. "Alhadeff Music" is like a multi-instrumental Boulez piece, in which beautiful, fractured sounds are produced throughout its quest for musical perfection. "Phantom Rings" begins with Christina Carter's reverb-ridden minimal textures and ends with those textures overlapping a rollicking guitar pattern reminiscent of Gastr Del Sol. Meanwhile, "Hand of Reign" showcases the ten-tons-of-distorto-psychedelic sludge approach of Bardo Pond, while Tucker's howls punctuate the gloom.
The psych-folk scene is another one of these dealies where you get a barrage of releases at once, and there is a consistent mark of quality running through all of them. Then you get the second wave, the hangers on; and though the quality is still there, the originality is not. Tucker, unfortunately, is leaning slightly towards the latter.
1. Hag Stones
2. Old Fog
3. The Patron Saint of Troubled Men
4. Phantom Rings
5. Alhadeff Music
6. Of Late
7. Welsh Harp
8. Hand of Reign
9. Sung Into Your Brightening Skull