Robbie Tucker – The Glitch

 Robbie Tucker – The Glitch

Robbie Tucker – The Glitch – Album Review

I tell ya folks…this country is HUGE.  Miramichi, New Brunswick…that’s where Robbie Tucker is from, and even having lived in Canada my entire life, on both sides of the map, I still hadn’t heard of that place.  I’d imagine I could probably go the rest of my life and still never be completely familiar with just how many different sections of this beautiful country there are.  That being said, that’s cool with me – I always love the opportunity to learn something along the way as I listen, and if Robbie’s any indication of what the scene is like over there in Miramichi, New Brunswick, then heck yeah, I’m into checking out his music!  For as gigantic as Canada is, it’s also filled with incredible artists if you know where to look, believe me.

Fun fact…according to our national census, Miramichi had a population of 17537 folks back in 2016, before exploding to a population of 17692 five years later when the statistics were released in 2021!  That’s a hundred & fifty-five people gained between 2016-2021, or thirty-one people per year if you wanna break it down even further.  Meanwhile over here in the lower mainland of BC, good gravyboat lighthouse y’all…you could sneeze, or blink, and thirty-one new cars would be ahead of you in traffic.

I’ll fully admit…I had no idea what I’d be expecting or in-store for on The Glitch, but “The Clown Was Dancing” wasn’t it!  This cut is a stellar introduction to Robbie’s music and to whatever the heck it is they’re puttin’ in the water over there in Miramichi…someone get me a pint – this is the right kind of uniqueness you wanna hear, that essentially implies you’re in for something you probably haven’t experienced before, and it gives you a mix of intriguing & artistic vibes that go from good to great in less than ninety seconds or so.  Would I have exploited the living daylights of what you’ll hear on “The Clown Was Dancing” as it slides past its first-minute into one of the most memorable transitions you’ll hear in a vibe this year.  You betcha!  I’d have driven that hook right into the ground!  Robbie shows great restraint in not doing so…superhuman effort really.  I’ll put it to ya this way – Robbie knows exactly which part of the song I’m talking about, that’s how universally known it’ll be that he’s onto something significantly special here.  It’s nearly like a cross between Beck and the Flaming Lips to a degree, which is kind of strange considering you’ll find Robbie cites his main influences as Orbison, McCartney, and Elvis.  Music always has more in common than it’s often credited for…on the fringes of genres like you’ll find Tucker’s tunes to be, you’ll find a tremendous amount true crossover sound, appeal, and potential.

“Red Lit Cigarette” has Robbie even bending his vocal range to sound similar to an early Grunge sound that resembles both early Chris Cornell & Layne Staley at points, whereas the song itself would be more akin to something more like Robbie Robertson crossed with something you’d find in the Brian Setzer Orchestra…earthy, but flashy & catchy in that jazz-hands type of theatrical way.  Look…I’ll be 100% honest with ya…”Red Lit Cigarette” is very much not the kind of typical tune you’d find on my playlists regularly, but I really have a tough time saying that almost, you know what I mean?  I’m only talking style-wise…it’s just not my normal thing is all, but whenever I started to feel like that, I would circle back to the fact that, when there’s confidence in the material & in the performance, there’s really always something to love, even when it might not be your number one style of sound.  “Red Lit Cigarette” would largely be the track that more or less sold me on what Robbie can do if I’m being truthful with ya…it might not be my favorite song of the set, but listening to him give this moment everything he’s got and seriously commit to the performance…you gotta admit, he’s onto something with his music, whether we realize it or not.   “She never lived up to her life’s expectations” is one of my favorite lines in any song on this record, and in general, this track cleverly examines the topic of what we’re willing to do to achieve our dreams, while also pointing out the savage risk we take in throwing everything away.

Okay now…you just wait a second here Mr. Robbie Tucker…did you just tell us “Good Night” in “She Always Could?”  We all just sat down to listen to The Glitch yo!  Am I really supposed to prepare to leave this show already?  Oh.  We’re not?  No?  The music keeps on going from there?  Well good…I can end this comedic bit then.  From what I’ve read about this record, Robbie really let himself loose to say, sing, and/or add anything he thought of – and you can hear in “She Always Could” that he has really taken his artistic license with that, which I love.  Tucker digs right into an authentic storyline song, complete with breaking news inserted along the way as we learn about Jenny’s travels.  The Alternative/Jazz vibes you’ll find when this track gets to the ninety second mark are supremely awesome and wildly addictive, but it’s really the strengths of the lyricism and the clever structuring of this innovative tune that tends to morph itself in several ways to a solid win as it plays on.  It’s a genuinely rad concept that’s every bit as thought provoking as it is evocative, and it speaks strongly on behalf of what Robbie can do lyrically to keep you hanging on his every words.  It’s kind of like if Golden Smog, Ben Folds or Dave Matthews Band covered something out of the Genesis catalog…that first hit of the warmth in the acoustic some twenty-seconds in is worth the full price of admission on its own.  There’s no doubt about the Progressive nature of this track in behind the clever mix of Jazz/Soul into this Indie-Rock uniqueness…make no mistake, what you’re listening to on “She Always Could” and throughout this record overall, is undeniable ART at its core, and it just so happens to sound great too.  Anything in the realm of art or Progressive terrain always proves to be more of a challenge to the general audience of the masses out there, I’m always realistic about that…but I dunno…there’s something about Robbie you’ll really find yourself rooting for…you might not be able to dance to his tunes in the traditional sense, but I’m not saying you can’t either – you’ll just have to get inventive is all.  And you can do that, I have faith in you.

“But At Least (Crickets In The Woods)” essentially proves that Robbie’s making a style of music all his own that pretty much defies any kind explanation…and I gotta admit, it’s workin’ for me for the most part.  I’d easily recognize the obstacles between a track like “But At Least (Crickets In The Woods)” would have in relation to the masses…Tucker gets restless quickly, and even for short tunes, you’ll find he moves off one part in favor of another, making it tough for the average everyday listener to keep up.  That being said, for those of you out there that like MORE out of the music you’ll listen to these days, that courageous mix where artistic style meets substantial performances, you’ll get that out of “But At Least (Crickets In The Woods)” for sure.  Again, to be crystal clear, out of this entire album at-large…we just happen to be talking about “But At Least (Crickets In The Woods).”  Complete with actual cricket sounds likely obtained from the very woods that the title of this track would imply, the switch from the murky & more mysterious vibe at the beginning breaks into a bright & beautiful moment just past the first minute that you’ll certainly want to repeat over and over…great transition there without a doubt.  I have the feeling this track will go on to surprise a lot of people out there that will dig it more than they probably originally thought.  Pay close attention to the final smattering of words in this track, too…you’ll find a couple shout-outs of songs yet to come, which is cool…but just don’t go expecting to understand what the tie-ins really are, because who knows.  It’s like the effect of hearing “has anybody seen the bridge?” on Led Zeppelin’s song “The Crunge” from back in the day…a tongue-in-cheek reference y’all.

I think “Sandalwind” is likely the closest song to what I thought I’d be getting when I pushed play on The Glitch.  I have no idea why that would be the case, I suppose it was just a feeling…ye olde premonition.  Anyhow…while sound-wise it goes in a different direction than this next comparison I’ve got for ya, when it comes to songwriting and content, by the end of “Sandalwind” you’d swear that this track could have appeared somewhere on The Last DJ by Tom Petty.  Sound-wise it’s quite different, and arguably the closest you’ve heard him come to his influence of Orbison so far on the record, yet like…I’m tellin’ ya, listen between thirty-eight & forty seconds and tell me Robbie doesn’t sound like he could pull off the personality and artistic essence to resemble Chris on a Cornell song!  Or between 1:38-1:40 a minute later…these are tone-bending notes that hint at a lot of depth & raw power that could be unleashed in Tucker’s vocals at a mere moment’s notice.  Which in itself is neat, because when you listen to the airy and dreamy old-school vibes of “Sandalwind,” it makes for interesting contrast; most people might miss it, but I’m tellin’ ya, Tucker’s got a whole other gear built for pure Rock if that’s the direction he wanted to take his music.  As it stands, you’ve got what’s likely that much more fresh & exciting…at least on an artistic level.  ”Sandalwind” is without question unique & different than what’s on your playlist right now, and if you’re anything life myself, you continually crave something that’s anything but normal, yes?

“I Wanna Rocket” would be another example of contrast and innovation in action…I would have somehow expected a different vibe than a paced-out piano melody leading the way.  This is another highly performance-minded piece from the man…and…yeah…I mean, it’s pretty wild stuff and I wouldn’t be the guy to bet on each of you being able to take the trip along with Tucker…but I’m still here for it.  Listening to the call & answer spoken word moment in “I Wanna Rocket” break into a brilliantly catchy and memorable hook is honestly something else to experience.  Around the 2:30 mark, “I Wanna Rocket” slides right into the stellar groove that absolutely DOES sound like what I thought a track like this might sound like…but even that doesn’t last too long.  You’ve gotta have FORTITUDE to rock with Robbie y’all…I can fully vouch for that…these songs twist and turn in basically every direction, and by the time you reach the end of a track like “I Wanna Rocket,” you’ll feel like you’ve absorbed about five or six songs-worth of ideas, because you HAVE.  Tucker plays many of these singular tracks like a full album, and like he’s got somewhere to be at the same time…which is kind of astonishing really when you think about it.  The amount involved in these songs is pretty staggering to begin with, but the fact that he’s able to move from one part to the next with such fluidity reveals the brunt of his professionalism and artistic precision.  It might take y’all into some admittedly weird terrain at times, but you’ve honestly gotta admire the attention to detail & how committed Robbie has been to even the strangest concepts.

Good lord!  “Where is your sister? She could be bleeding alone in the dark and you wouldn’t even care…” – that’s quite the first line to hear on “Where Is Your Sister?,” which features Dillon Ryan as a guest star.  The rest of this song works in a mysterious vibe, and you really wanna find out where this dude’s sister has gone, know what I mean?  You end up locked into this story, trying to figure out what it’s all about…is she lost physically, or maybe mentally?  “She could be dreaming alone in the dark and you wouldn’t even care.”  I mean…it’s freakin’ fantastic to listen to…engaging, engrossing…all that good stuff.  As to what’s inspired it, or if this song is supposed to serve as a PSA to phone your sister RIGHT NOW, I do not know…but I’d reckon you’ll enjoy listening to it before you dial up you kin, partner.  You feel the weight in a song like “Where Is Your Sister?” through both the lyrics and the low-end melody driving this track along…the combination is really effect and this cut feels like it’s songwriting well-worth repeating.

“Nevermind” has the kind of uniqueness and atmosphere to it that instantly gets my attention.  If you’re talkin’ about mesmerizing qualities in the music you’ll find on this record, “Nevermind” is in line to take the top prize…love the piano-lines and bass combo…and all-in-all, this track feels ALIVE and 100% fresh as it plays on.  I’m tellin’ ya folks…Tucker’s got a real gift for performance-minded material; it’s going to sell a whole lot of people on his authenticity, and rightly so.  If there was some kind of hesitation, or a lack of confidence in what we could hear, this whole record would have turned out 180-degrees different.  With verses that are borderline Hip-Hop & light-rock combos, complete with backing vocals that are yellin’ atcha and all kinds of other strange features along the way from its Eastern-tinged start to the wildness you’ll find at the end…”Nevermind” is like listening to Robbie Tucker choose his own adventure.  Dude’s been fearless on this record…like, there are parts of “Nevermind” that are so quintessentially Canadian you’d swear you left a Letterkenny episode on in the background – and you’d think it was almost crazy for Tucker to be so artistically cavalier in way, but it’s the kind of uniqueness that gets noticed.  Being the same is what gets you slaughtered in the sea of sameness – being DIFFERENT is what earns you an audience of loyal fans that’ll stick with you, and definitely silence the critics.  Don’t get me wrong…I’m not suggesting “Nevermind” would be the single – it wouldn’t be one in the traditional sense, that’s for sure…but it could definitely be an artistic gateway into The Glitch too.  Those horns at the end y’all!  The harmonies in the hooks!  There’s a little somethin’ for everyone here.

So…okay…like…content-wise, it’s fair to say that this record is quite proud to be all over the map with the ideas you’ll discover, as illustrated best perhaps through the song “Several Robots.”  There is indeed “more than one, yes more than two” as you’ll learn…and the exit transition from the verses is nothing short of freakishly amazing if you ask me.  Robots “will not die and can’t grow old” – did you know that?  Oh you’ll learn so much about robots from this song I tells ya…everything you ever wanted to know really!  Alright…I have no problem pointing out the fact that it’s a subject that might just be more appealing to some than others, but like I always say around here, we all gotta write about something right?  As far as the sound of the song goes, I felt like “Several Robots” was another one of Robbie’s tracks that had a lot of juice in its energy…like you can hear the interest and engagement he’s taking to it all, because he’s enjoying making this song just as much as we dig listening to it, you feel me?  Never mistake the power of really getting into your material…it can turn an artist like Tucker that is decisively Progressive & Artistic in style, and through his performances, give his songs an extra degree of appeal and accessibility that the masses will want to keep exploring for one reason, or another, or another…

You get the point I’m sure – points to Robbie trying out so many unique avenues with his latest record.  Like…LISTEN to the transition around the 2:10 mark of “Seven Yesterdays” will ya?  Genius!  And you know what?  You’ll find ANOTHER about twenty-seconds or less from there too.  Like I’m been trying to explain to ya, Tucker is conquering a widespread range of terrain that is excitingly expansive…he might move quickly, yes, but he’s giving you a smorgasbord of ideas to explore.  He had me a bit worried at the start of this song…for a good two minutes he had me wondering if he wanna gonna pull this one out, or if this was going to be the most ‘normal’ track we’ve heard from Tucker for a moment…but that first major transition is another spectacular highlight on “Seven Yesterdays” that’ll turn this experience from good to great for many listeners out there.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind what I’m hearing in the first two-minutes and ten seconds…and I appreciate the role it plays…but every time I listened to this track myself, I found myself waiting to get to that magical main switch that propels this track to the next level.  Kind of like the Neil Cowley Trio meets Beck…somewhere in the middle of all that…piano with a vibrantly creative twang to it…Robbie’s really supplied us all with tremendous versatility on this record.

I mean…sound-wise, you could certainly even include a band like Supertramp in the list of similarities you might find in listening to Tucker’s music, and “Doctor Show-Off” will give you a good reason to believe what I’m tellin’ ya is true in the vocals/piano melody at the core of this track.  In any event, that’s damn good company to be keeping if you ask me…Supertramp is wildly underrated in my opinion.   Robbie gives “Doctor Show-Off” the right amount of intensity to create a serious finale for ya, bringing this last cut to a level of venom in the vocals we hadn’t experienced from him yet in the final verse, and I’m confident that’s the way to raise the stakes that’ll have your ears noticing.  What was I tellin’ ya way back earlier, about how Robbie had a whole gnarlier gear that he wasn’t yet revealing to us?  While he doesn’t unleash the beast without keeping it contained and professional, you get a wicked dose of what I was referring to earlier on in this review as Tucker lambastes your speakers at the end of this record.  It’d be an all-out trip to see this man live, and I sincerely hope he’s out there somewhere bringing these tunes to the stage…Tucker’s got the potential in his material to seriously blow your mind performance-wise.  I’ve had a great time listening to this entire lineup…it’s dynamically diverse, and even through just about everything varies uniquely from track to track, Tucker’s ingenuity is highly identifiable, and equally addictive to experience.  This man’s mind doesn’t run on the same kind of batteries as the rest of us, you follow me?  I’m very interested in where he’ll continue to take his music from here, because based on the strengths of everything I heard on this record, he’s got the skills & ability to do whatever he’d want to.  It’s a priceless luxury…and well earned praise – Robbie Tucker is among the most unique you’ll hear this year in any genre; the more he catches on, I’d bet the more compelling his craft will become, 100%.

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