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Black Moth Super Rainbow - Eating Us

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Artist: Black Moth Super Rainbow

Album: Eating Us

Label: Graveface

Review date: Jul. 8, 2009

The main difference between Black Moth Super Rainbow’s breakthrough Dandelion Gum and this yea’s Eating Us is producer Dave Fridmann. The heavy-handed wizard from western New York state is well-known for his work with everyone from Mercury Rev to Flaming Lips, and his partnership with the Moth was a wise choice. Fridmann’s predilection for ornamentation and layering can sometimes overwhelm, but here he’s met his match. Aside from drums, nearly every sound is treated somehow, and even the drums aren’t immune from meddling.

Listening to Eating Us is a bit like experiencing an old-fashioned fun house, where nothing is quite what it seems. You hear organ, drums, guitar, banjo, woodwinds, chimes and gongs, but it’s rarely clear what instrument actually made each sound. Layers of synths and electronics float by, pooling in the midst of the songs and obscuring things with weighty treatments. Fridmann and the band somehow manage to keep it under control and the songs don’t stagger under that weight.

Ironically, the album’s most recognizable feature – the treated vocals – is its most apparent weakness. Nary a vocal line here is left untouched, and while the strategy gives the songs a dreamy, otherworldly air, it also takes away from their personality. The singers become somewhat anonymous, and while the songs have enough individuality to manage, there is a bit of sameness after hearing several vocodered tracks.

Eating Us is still an unqualified success, the pop album that many followers in the footsteps of Kraftwerk have tried and failed to make. "Born On a Day the Sun Didn’t Rise" applies organ over dense drums to open the album with a strong, lushly orchestrated tune like Oneida jamming with Air. "Iron Lemonade" is somehow beautiful and ominous at once, like good pop should be. BMSR also wisely err on the side of economy, and keep the album at only 36 minutes. In an era of sadly bloated albums, quality over quantity is a pleasure to behold.

Eating Us will be one of the popular summer jams around here, no question about it, sharing space with Ganglians and Cave on the stereo. And I’ll be very much looking forward to what comes next from Black Moth Super Rainbow, as it’s rare to hear a band that’s already very good continue to find ways to grow.

By Mason Jones

Other Reviews of Black Moth Super Rainbow

Falling Through a Field

Dandelion Gum

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