Black Moth Super Rainbow, ‘Cobra Juicy’ – Album Review
With their outrageous band name, gruesome-cute album art and endlessly vocodered vocals, Black Moth Super Rainbow do not lend themselves to accessibility. At first blush, the Pittsburghian maniacs seem like less-literate cousins of Animal Collective, a drop in the psychoactive bucket. However, after a few spins of ‘Cobra Juicy,’ another theory begins to emerge: These guys are really good.
This warrants investigation.
The band is lead by Thomas Fec, who has released a few gritty albums under the alias of Tobacco over the last few years. (Other pseudonyms in the band include Father Hummingbird and Iffernaut -- which is ridiculous, but anyway.) Their last album, ‘Dandelion Gum,’ showed the crystallization of the band’s sound: a trippy but not quite whimsical tour through the shared consciousness of a collection of artists that have thoroughly expanded their minds. That aesthetic carries over to now, as they’re not creating sounds so much as textures.
The aesthetic here is one of slippery, syrupy synths and psychoactive, hyper-distorted guitars and processed vocals. It adds up to a sound both synthetic and organic, a sometimes languid, often frantic, oozing pastiche. The emotional content of the record is difficult to describe without referencing mind-altering substances and what they do to a person. There’s something dissociative to the transparent artifice of the vocals; you can’t quite tell if the band is playing with sincerity or a sense of irony. Among all those synths, you let your world come unhinged, and you follow the band down the rabbit hole.
It's a strange place to be.
Listeners hung up on good taste will invariably be disappointed by the nonsensical lyrics ("Microwave my spine" gets murmured on 'Like a Sundae' ) and limited vocabulary of compositional elements (an assortments of delayed and shifted beeps and bloops). But those that come to the disc as if joining any other party and yield to the collective madness of the madcap momentum building with each track will find an odd comfort in the kaleidoscopic swells of 'Psychic Love Damage' or 'We Burn.' Elsewhere, the sound goes other places, assuming the feel of radioactive island music. ‘Dreamsicle Bomb’ would be the perfect soundtrack to a nuclear sunset. The closer, ‘Blurring My Day,’ has the most direct title on the record -- and that's fitting.
By the end of 'Cobra Juicy,' you will feel blurred. It's up to you whether that’s a good thing.