Demon Queen Exorcise Tape

[Rad Cult; 2013]

Rating: 3/5

Styles: synth-centric music for strip clubs, (G-)funk, sleazy-listening
Others: Tobacco, Blowfly, Prince, Afrika Bambaataa

Open up the side project nesting doll that is Demon Queen, made up of Tom Fec (of one-man band Tobacco of Black Moth Super Rainbow) and new partner Zackey Force Funk. With the courage to be shameless and a willingness to throw a bunch of crazy things together and hope they work (and they do, mostly), Demon Queen take a humorously hypersexual approach to the demonic, similar to Grinderman’s two releases, but with funk and hip-hop subbed for garage rock — one could imagine funkier, falsetto versions of “No Pussy Blues” or “Heathen Child” existing alongside tracks named “Pussay Pussay” and “Swoll Tongue.” It is leering masculinity taken to its extreme, crass and ridiculous and perhaps even pathetically cathartic (apparently Exorcise Tape is a breakup record on Zackey Force Funk’s side, or at least a breakup record in that it was inspired by his recent time spent in a grimy strip club).

Exorcise Tape in part showcases Tobacco’s viscous analog synths and hip-hop vocals, a logical pairing overdue in larger quantity — sadly, only present here in four of eleven songs. ZFF acts as both lecherous hook-singer and hookup man, and the guest rappers he provides from his crew sound especially at ease over Tobacco’s bulging beats, which have long begged for the inclusion of an MC freakier than Beck.

Brother of ZFF, N8NOFACE — whom my Googling cannot, because of his obscurity and DOOM-like insistence on wearing masks, verify whether he does or does not have a face — evades any accusations of nepotism with his verse on “Demon Practice,” a track so energetically infectious it transcends the goofy exorcise/exercise pun of the tape by actually functioning as a bona fide pump-up song. If anything could galvanize someone into doing 100,000 pushups before breakfast, this is it: imagine a workout tape seal-honked with the deranged urgency of an MC Ride-type, a rap workout plan that easily dethrones reigning half-skit of lame quips from a current deity’s pink polo stage. But then Exorcise Tape sparklehorses around by leaping from death’s grip (literal possession) into the mournful tenderness of “Love Hour Zero,” an incongruous song of sensitivity that could’ve been penned by the late Mark Linkous. Two minutes later, it’s back to the boorish with “Pussay Pussay.”

Tonal inconsistency is less a problem with Exorcise Tape than an intention — rigorous plotting wouldn’t exactly suit such an endearingly slapdash sleazefest — but as short as it is (30 minutes), it’s not without its duds, especially after the spell of greatness cast by “Demon Practice” has worn off. But those first 15 minutes, apart from “The 5th Beat” — forgettable enough that it doesn’t get a name but instead a placemarker — have enough packed into them to form their own enclosed and worthy EP. Car jams “Lamborghini Meltdown” and “El Camino 2,” the strongest songs without rapping, rise above the funk pastiche to establish their own distinctive and danceable nightmares; while “Vodka” sets a sloppy, drunken atmosphere early on and is the best argument for Tobacco producing more straightforward hip-hop. If Demon Queen is a project intended to placate Tobacco or BSMR’s expectant rap fans (“I got a lot of people pushing me to work with rappers,” Tobacco admits), it might just have the opposite effect: we want more.

Links: Demon Queen - Rad Cult

Most Read