As any good comedian will tell you, timing is everything, and for a musician picking the right moment to make a move can be a decision that makes or breaks a career. Five years ago, Mike Wexler released a rather impressive album, Sun Wheel (Amish Records), that – in a just world – would have put him firmly on the radar of discerning tastemakers across the world wide web; unfortunately, with the new wave of indie folk at the peak of its popularity, the record was unleashed into a packed field (led by Joanna Newsom’s staggering Ys) and promptly trampled underfoot by a horde of more established and more hyped artists. Thankfully, though, Wexler didn’t lose heart and now he’s back with a new long-player, Dispossession, for the esteemed Mexican Summer label that creeps and crawls like Sun Wheel‘s evil twin. Weaving delicate piano motifs, organ drones, finger-picked guitar lines and gently brushed drums into dense, sticky spider-webs, the likes of “Pariah” blur the lines between whimsical folk, dark psychedelia and electrifying free-improv; moving at a funereal pace, the song’s propulsive throb, cyclical chord progression and Wexler’s almost subliminal vocals hypnotise the listener into an uneasy trance before wrapping its clammy fingers around their throat. It’s a claustrophobic but strangely enchanting experience, and whilst it shares an obvious affinity with fellow contemporary outsider artists like Richard Youngs and Cass McCombs, its eerie beauty also recalls a long lineage of songwriting auteurs, from Scott Walker and Nick Drake to John Martyn and Robert Wyatt.
Dispossession is out March 6 on Mexican Summer