new music: the laidback jams of ethan tucker’s debut ‘misunderstood’ #soundcheck
By Sound Check
May 8, 2015
With an expressive rasp and a laidback guitar feel, Ethan Tucker’s debut Misunderstood has all the feel and intimacy of sitting with Tucker in a living room, passing around a bottle of whiskey and a bowl. The singer-songwriter has spent much of the past 4 years on the road, honing his sound and songwriting. The joys and hardships of the road life inform the surprising ups and downs of Misunderstood.
Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor
From opening track “Cool Kids,” Tucker’s easy charm sets the tone. Dub and reggae nods inform the alienation anthem. “You know I love some Snoop Dogg / but I also love some old Bob Marley too.” It’s no wonder that he’s been teaming up with Michael Franti, hippie-in-chief of electropunk pioneers The Beatnigs who now spearheads Spearhead. Franti pops up on the soulful “Crazy Tonight,” trading verses with Ethan Tucker. The two have a lived in chemistry from spending time together on tour.
While much of the record focuses on the electronic reggae beats, acoustic guitar, and easy hooks that Ethan Tucker has made his name on, when he lets his blues roots shine, the record really comes alive. “Never Be” rides an aggressive distorted riff and his biggest hook on record. It’s a welcome departure to hear him let loose. Closing the record with a cover of “Little Wing” finds Ethan Tucker putting all his influences to good use. It’s Hendrix by way of latter day Marley with a touch of Pink Floyd colliding beneath Tucker’s expressive rasp. His guitar work is the strongest of any track on the record, expressing both confidence and depth. It’s dangerous work re-imagining an unimpeachable classic, but as he often does throughout Misunderstood, Ethan Tucker makes it seem effortless.
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