The beautifully trippy ’Don’t Look Away’ is the first new solo material from psychedelic songwriter Alexander Tucker since ‘Third Mouth’ in 2012. While he’s hardly been lazy in the meantime, turning out a handful of LPs with Imbogodom and Grumbling Fur with Charlemagne Palestine, ‘Don’t Look Away’ is a really lush reminder of Tucker’s hauntingly singular brilliance.
Cradling plaintive vocals in glowing webs of eldritch psych folk and free krautrock, Tucker sounds every bit like some time travelling bard or a psychedelic prophet returned from the mountains in ‘Don’t Look Away’. Recorded in London and Zurich, with mixing trustfully handled by his Grumbling Fur bandmate Daniel O’Sullivan, and guest vocalist Nik Colk Void drifting into album highlight ‘Gloops Void (Give It up)’, the result are arguably Tucker’s most delirious, diversely avant and pop, and yet definitive. Dare we call it his master opus? Well aye.
Taking off with what sound like a lysergic folkrock take on Joy Division’s ‘Atmosphere’ in ‘Objects’, the album willows and shapeshifts between the bittersweet, poignant acoustic strums on ‘Sisters and Me’, opening out into gorgeous, drum machine driven kosmic pop with ‘Visiting Again’, and lulling us into serenity with ‘Ghost On The Ledge’. But as with any trip worth the effort, the vibe can change in a split second, as it does with Nik Void’s entry on the roiling, darkside vision of ‘Gloops Void (Give it Up)’, but the moment passes into treacly strums on ‘Behind The Shoulder’, and the rest of the LP emotes more gently, with genuine magick to be discovered in the closing couplet of Tucker’s melting vignette, ‘Yesterday’s Honey’, and the stereo phasing, glossolalic vortices of ‘Ishuonawaylshanawa’ that’s just left us wide-eyed, clammy palmed, and waiting for the next wave.
‘Don’t Look Away’ could have been made at any point int he past 40 years, but it’s still a modern masterpiece, no less.