Tucker Theodore is a musician based in Seattle. You may also be familiar with his work as Buffalovoice or Gunmothers Head, or perhaps for his work on the recent Midwife record that we liked a lot. Portland label Antiquated future released his debut solo album, To Make the Sun Hurt, back in 2013, and immediately found an audience for Theodore’s brand of noisy and reclusive folk. The great news is that he has a new solo album, titled Lady Hope, which is again being released by Antiquated Future, and today we have the pleasure of presenting it in full.
Lady Hope is a difficult album to categorise, it’s blown-out lo-fi aesthetic transforming what in another life were folk songs into something with a strange weight and power. It’s music constructed from the base elements, big and powerful and oddly foreboding, the perfect soundtrack for you lucky folk who get to watch the solar eclipse today.
Slow winding guitar opens ‘Dunes Revisited’, which eventually emerges as an ominously charged rock song, Theodore’s voice distorted and humming with feedback, like a radio wave pulled thin across miles and miles of barren sand. The initially simple acoustic folk of ‘Skin’ soon begins to ripple and roil like a fever dream, electric guitar rising at the midway point as Theodore, joined by Madeline Johnston, repeating slight variations on the same line in increasingly desperate tones.
In fact, no two tracks are quite the same. ‘Flu’ is a relatively sedate psych-tinged guitar instrumental, while ‘All the Dogs Revisited’ is wrapped in a storm of feedback, and ‘Equinox’ sees crunchy electric guitar shred and squeal. Penultimate track ‘Helios Adrift’ is a vivid, widescreen slice of near post-rock richness, rising to crescendos before sinking back into its slow tidal rhythm, the title track closer reverts to something far more grounded, an rough indie rock song of insistent instrumentation and hypnotic, spiralling vocals.
With its combination of droning noise and outsider folk, wrapped up with snaking tendrils of dense and snarling rock, Lady Hope is quite unlike any other album you’ll hear this year. It’s an hour long beast that’s unapologetically complex and opaque, but also has an uncanny ability to move you on an instinctive, subconscious level. In other words, the album serves as the perfect antidote to the age of the Spotify playlist, and we should be thankful that there are still people like Tucker Theodore plying their trade, prepared to pour everything into making art like this.