Black Moth Super Rainbow - Cobra Juicy

Black Moth Super Rainbow - Cobra Juicy
Album Reviews

Using your imagination is a large part of BMSR's character, musically and otherwise.



Label: Rad Cult
Released: 17th December 2012
Reviewer: Tom Baker
Imagine if Air's 'Moon Safari' was more of the sort of safari Hemingway would've got blotto on and then fired his rifle at anything that moved. Imagine if the Black Keys had grown up with a more eclectic musical taste. Imagine if Death In Vegas had stayed as sinister but cared about writing pop songs. If we've done our job properly, you'll have just imagined the exact sound of 'Cobra Juicy' and, to a greater or lesser extent, the entire career of Black Moth Super Rainbow themselves.

Using your imagination is a large part of BMSR's character, musically and otherwise; on stage and in the press they lurk in the shadows, WU LYF-like, preferring to exist under pseudonyms than given names and rarely giving interviews. On their records, frontman Tobacco's (hard to believe that's not the name his mother gave him) voice is squashed between about three layers of vocoder, making it androgynous, trippy and hard to make out what he's actually singing - not that it usually matters, since whenever you catch an intelligible lyric, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Which is actually pretty fun, like trying to catch the words to a song on a car radio that keeps fading in and out.

'Cobra Juicy' properly engages you with its music, which is why it seems disingenuous to describe it as 'psychedelic' - which many do, have done, and no doubt will again - since it rarely becomes an indulgent, rainbow-coloured stream to float your unconscious down (putting aside the slide guitar and swirling synths of 'Psychic Love Damage' - you probably could've known that from the title, though), unless you want your unconscious to go to some pretty dark places. 

Each track on the record - from the swaggering, beat-heavy opener 'Windshield Smasher' to closer 'Spraypaint', a multi-layered synth sundae - has all the musical hallmarks of bright, glittering electro-pop, but there's a sneaking suspicion that there's something a bit nasty below the surface. The basslines that rumble beneath each track of squelchy keys and 808s hints at it, and the vocals often put it across explicitly - when you can hear them, that is - on songs like 'I Think I'm Evil'. It's a unique record in the wider sense, but maybe less so within the band's own back catalogue - if you've yet to be snake-charmed by the occasionally venomous but oh-so-shiny Black Moth Super Rainbow, this is certainly a good place to start.
Rating: 7/10
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