Colin Lloyd Tucker – Guardian Angel
Samphire Records. April 2. 2021.
As a ‘single’ Tucker’s latest release falls down on every level.
It fails to meet any of the criteria the medium requires.
So long that breakfast D.J.s will be down the pub by the time it reaches its finale verse, it lacks a sing-a-long chorus and a danceable beat.
It’s slow, but there are slow singles, right? But, slow singles are usually packed with emotional hyperbole to hammer at the heart of the most disinterested listener.
From its cranky Mellotron introduction we wait over 2 minutes to hear ‘that voice’. Along the way we are treated to heavenly choirs and John Porter’s haunting slide guitar, on the face of it a very strange brew…but wait, there is a weird alchemy in play here.
Guardian Angel is extremely cool.
Tucker recently stated that he sees himself as an old school songwriter and it seems that his pencil is sharp and his muse burning bright.
The song is under-pinned by Tucker’s plucked acoustic guitar that navigates a reassuringly conventional chord sequence that occasionally veers off into a strange, unexpected place, creating a feeling of weightlessness. Bill Branwell’s fretless bass joins him on these excursions before crashing back down to the root to satisfying effect. A thumping drum (a Salvation Army marching drum, I am reliably informed) enters at this point.
The lyrics begin in the third person as C.L.T. relates a story of how ‘Jacob lost his ladder’ and ‘found a pair of hover-boots’ but soon he addresses the listener directly, a more universal theme develops concerning our own attempts to control destiny.
It becomes clear the C.L.T.’s Guardian Angel is not of the biblical kind but ‘more like a feeling…in the pit of your stomach’ as he pulls the listener in in a conversational style that he has made his own.
This is heady stuff that latches onto your brain like a limpet mine. I found that, after hearing it a few times, lines re-entered my head at regular intervals, waiting at traffic lights ‘try not to let that dream obscure the view, if you do this you will miss avenues new’, standing in a socially distanced queue ‘you have a guardian angel, you may not hear her speak, but she’s there inside you…somewhere deep’.
In these rather sad times Tucker’s Guardian Angel is a ray of light in which he displays empathy with his listeners, encouraging self-belief with a promise of hope.
As a taster for his forthcoming album this track does the job brilliantly…it’s not a ‘single’ though.