Black Moth Super Rainbow: Cobra Juicy (Rad Cult, 10/23/13)
If the eccentric, lo-fi style of early Black Moth Super Rainbow releases seemed to destine principal member Tom Fec (AKA Tobacco) to permanent cult status, the last two BMSR albums have been marked by a dramatic shift toward production polish. And even though Fec has gone back to producing himself for latest album Cobra Juicy, the new material delves even further into pop than its 2009, Dave Fridmann-produced predecessor, Eating Us. The new album’s sound may surprise longtime fans who were drawn to Fec’s rough-hewn approach, but Fec himself is surprised that anyone took interest in his work in the first place.
“When I first started out making tapes in high school,” he explains, “I just knew that no one was going to like what I was doing. So I always made shit just for me. I never planned on doing shows; I never planned on doing anything. I was trying to make shit that no one else was making that I wanted to hear. [Third album] Dandelion Gum was the epitome of that, but that’s why the audience came to the table in the first place.”
Fec started what was to become Cobra Juicy while strongly doubting whether to continue releasing music under the Black Moth banner. (He has released two “solo” albums under his Tobacco moniker, even though BMSR albums essentially are solo endeavors.) He made Cobra Juicy entirely on his own after shelving another album, Psychic Love Damage, remnants of which pop up in the new songs, including one by the same name. Appropriate to that title, several of the songs — tracks such as “Hairspray Heart,” “I Think I’m Evil,” and “Dreamsicle Bomb” — reflect romantic disillusionment and even hopelessness as Fec plumbs the dark crevices of desire and loss, a contrast from the demented fairytale glee of Dandelion Gum.
“The words on other Black Moth records,” he says, “are just thoughts that I had one day that don’t really mean anything and are completely up for interpretation. These newer lyrics have to do a lot with some of the issues I had in 2010. I was going through some really weird anxieties; people in my family were dying and stuff. I would never, ever, ever lay that out for people. I basically covered it in two layers, two masks — a mask and then a mask on top of that mask. That’s what this record is: me losing my shit in 2010, when I wasn’t making music and these things really fucked me up and I wasn’t in a good place.”