Thursday, 18 September 2014

Luke Tuchscherer - You Get So Alone At Times It Just Makes Sense Little Red Recording Company

When played well pedal and lap steel can produce an emotion sapping accompaniment to songs designed to explore some of the darker places in our mind. Whether by experience or imagination, Luke Tuchscherer’s initial deep dive into the world of country music has risen back to the surface with an album capturing that sound and mood. With cultured arrangements and explicit songs baring the scars of life, YOU GET SO ALONE AT TIMES IT JUST MAKES SENSE is not an album to be consumed lightly but then we all know that the best records never shy away from a little pain.

Whybirds drummer Luke has stepped forward to go alone on this debut solo release and has the potential to create more than a ripple in the UK's Americana and alt-country community, although with its deep sense of tradition perhaps the alt tag should be dropped. This record is awash with top notch writing, stellar playing and more importantly connects instantly without the need to go down the grower route. Just as the press release was enlightening and free of superlatives, Luke’s writing is simple, plain but highly effective in conveying not just the message of each song but planting a measure of sincerity into the mind of the listener.

All twelve songs have a strong feel to them and a couple do leave the door slightly ajar for a brief glimpse of light. A breezy melody attaches itself to the dutiful and merciful track ‘Women’ which offers a little respite, just in the same way that ‘Two Ships (Caroline Please)’ recalls a fading optimism of what might have been. Leading the deluge of melancholic moments is the mournful ‘You Don’t Know Me’ drowning in morbid glorious pedal steel and the equally as depressive ‘Hold On’. Tears are delivered along with ‘Dear Samantha’ and it’s a song which makes you want to re-write history. Sitting at track eleven, if you aren’t engrossed in the album now and feel for the characters then perhaps another genre is the remedy.

Eleven musicians under the guidance of producer Tom Peters have contributed to the record leading the album down several distinctive sound routes such as a west coast 70’s feel to ‘When Day is Done’ and ‘Three Long Days’. Banjo and Dobro add an acoustic roots tinge to album opener ‘(Lord Knows) I’m a Bad Man’ while drooling Hammond organ sprinkles smidgeons of soul over ‘One of Us’. This song has been sent out into the wider world as the album’s scout track via Sound Cloud links and free downloads from Fatea with the intention of reporting back with new fans. With its cutting lyrics reflecting a spiralling existence, it certainly is up there with the album’s peak moments.

Additional musical influences on the album include some cello especially on the acoustic led ‘I Don’t Need You To Love Me’ and there is no finer string instrument to induce sound tainted with sadness. A full string arrangement by Johnny Parry enhances ‘(To Make It Worse) I’m Falling In Love Again’, while the album’s lengthiest track ‘Darling, It’s Just Too Hard To Love’ opens with subtly strummed ballad pretensions before launching into a concoction of instrumental delight missing only the earlier defining tones of pedal and lap steel.

The decision made by Luke Tuchscherer to follow his heart and veer down this path has been rewarded with a strong emotive album right at the core of what makes this genre so special. YOU GET SO ALONE AT TIMES IT JUST MAKES SENSE should possess two warnings: not for the faint heart but essential for those who know good music.

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