Black Moth Super Rainbow Eating Us

[Graveface; 2009]

Rating: 3/5

Styles: electronic pop, psychedelic, experimental-ish
Others: Stereolab, Air, The Flaming Lips

It’s hard to imagine an album better suited to the gradually warming weather than Eating Us. Black Moth Super Rainbow have picked an advantageous season to release such a warm, effervescent album. Despite the dour name of the opening track -- “Born On A Day The Sun Didn’t Rise” -- Eating Us is, front to back, a goofy and good-natured summertime treat. With drippy, melted vocals and a chewy, moog-y center, the group preempts any summer burnout by making music that sounds as if it’s been simmering on hot cement.

Black Moth Super Rainbow have something of a reputation as weirdo drop-outs, but, more than ever, that reputation feels like an act. It certainly feels more rehearsed on this album than it did on their rougher, home-recorded ones. Although the members of BMSR haven’t dropped their Dadaist/sci-fi trappings (band members include leader Tobacco and keyboardist The Seven Fields of Aphelion), they are edging increasingly closer to mainstream expectations with mainstream aspirations. Perhaps that's why they roped in famed producer Dave Fridmann, hoping for a little MGMT magic to rub off. His influence is seemingly minimal, but his production welcomingly deepens the more colorful accents of their borderline cartoonish sound.

Despite the addition of a big-name producer and a couple new members, Eating Us isn't much of a progression from 2007's Dandelion Gum. More than anything, it feels like an Evil Dead II situation, like a remake with a slightly larger budget. Maybe it should be chalked up to a limited musical range, but certain songs, “Fields Are Breathing” for example, are structured too similarly to other, older songs. And “Twin of Myself,” the album’s lead single, is curiously static, riding atop a looping, crystalline groove, but never doing much of anything with it. For those newly familiar to BMSR, Eating Us is a perfect gateway, the most successful encapsulation of their sound; for the older fans, it might come off as more of the same.

By smoothing away some of their more alienating weirdness, Black Moth Super Rainbow stand a shot at raising their visibility, but it also makes them less intriguing. Yet this is why Eating Us is so suited for summertime enjoyment. About as experimental as a diet of candy for breakfast, Black Moth Super Rainbow have made an album that, while lacking in nutrition, is almost ready for mass consumption. Any nitpicking is, in essence, counter-productive; to over-think Black Moth Super Rainbow is to puncture their facade. The old saying used to be tune in and drop out, and it still applies as much as ever. Enjoyably dumb and agreeably psychedelic, Eating Us is easy listening for an easy-going season.

1. Born On A Day The Sun Didn’t Rise
2. Dark Bubbles
3. Twin Of Myself
4. Gold Splatter
5. Iron Lemonade
6. Tooth Decay
7. Fields Are Breathing
8. Smile The Day After Today
9. The Sticky
10. Bubblegum Animals
11. American Face Dust

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