W.A. Fite is the pseudonym for Dustin Blocker, best known about town as the frontman for the local rock outfit Exit 380. But that, more than anything, is just a point of reference. Because, on this, his debut solo effort, Blocker plays all the instruments and takes the music in a far more eclectic direction than anything Exit 380 has ever exhibited. And, for most of Poisoning the Medicine Tree, Blocker succeeds on a remarkable scale.
Beginning with the buzzing electronics of "Sergeant F. Head," it's abundantly clear that W.A. Fite is a unique and promising endeavor. Each track incorporates a different style, and whether it's in the Wall of Voodoo-like "Western in A," the retro power ballad "The Piddler" or the almost danceable "Feet in the Water," nearly every track works wonderfully well. More akin to Sparklehorse than Stone Temple Pilots, the songs of Poisoning the Medicine Tree demonstrate Blocker to be a tunesmith with much more on the table than previously thought.
About the only thing that links this with an Exit 380 effort is Blocker's Scott Weiland-esque vocals. And, after hearing Blocker's baritone bellow in the context of something other than the alt-rock of Exit 380, it's fairly easy to want to hear more from W.A. Fite before Blocker convenes the guys for the next effort from his other project.