Mike Wexler’s music incites certain urges in people. Listening to Dispossession – the Brooklyn singer/songwriter’s second album, and first for Mexican Summer – fills you with the urge to head out into the desert and consume copious amounts of peyote; the urge to slow your blinking down by at least 30 per cent; and the urge to buy a hammock. It’s atmospheric and washed-out, but deeply layered mescaline folk – as unsettling as it is hypnotic, with Wexler spinning song after song through your mind in a hazy blur.
There are some epic tracks to fall into here – both in terms of quality and length. The first three songs are all six minutes plus, and it’s these tracks that Wexler uses to put you into a trance, drawing you into his music – setting you adrift from your corporeal world and making sure your mind flies and soars with every finger picked note and sustained blast of synth.
This opening period of the album starts off with Pariah, where Wexler’s hushed vocals sit atop some languid guitar and drums, with the keys adding a psychedelic feel as the song blows steadily along. Spectrum offers a real sense of looking at the light from a dark place, with it’s rumbling, menacing opening and euphoric synth ending, while Lens is a barefoot walk through a dusty barren landscape, combining twisted American folk with jazz beats and horns.
If the opening part of the album set the tone for the trance, the following three tracks deliver short, sharp hits to start snapping you out of it, showcasing Wexler’s ability to twist his music into new shapes. The Trace is the hushed comedown after Lens, with Wexler channelling Paul Giovanni. Prime takes this a step further, retaining the Wicker Man feel, but melting in a layer of jazz to the warped folk. And Glyph is the hushed and gentle softener, setting you up for the uneasy, yet impressive closing track Liminal – a track that will remind you that not all hypnotic experiences need end with an uplifting sense of elation. Unsettling but brilliant stuff.