Tobacco

Maniac Meat

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One of several Black Moth Super Rainbow side projects to emerge in 2010, Maniac Meat finds that band's more or less main figure, Tobacco, tackling a second solo album that often sounds like his core group on a bad trip. This is not a complaint, it should be said. As opposed to the sometimes overwhelming whimsy of Black Moth Super Rainbow, admittedly conveyed more on record than on-stage, Maniac Meat is a glowering fuzzed-up sprawl. Tobacco's signature touch -- his constantly treated vocals, sounding like a robot put through a wringer then stretched out even further -- unsurprisingly remains intact. The best moments are when the basic combination of said vocals, plenty of audio murk, and an underpinning beat get some extra melodrama added to the proceedings, like the whooshing stop-start noises before each verse on "Lick the Witch" and, in gentler contrast, the serene keyboard break (with what almost sounds like a steel guitar from space) on "Six Royal Vipers." (As can already be guessed, the album does have a great line on song titles -- perhaps the best being "Unholy Demon Rhythms" and "Nuclear Waste Aerobics.") One guest appears -- none other than Beck, who on "Fresh Hex" and "Grape Aerosmith," both among the briefest songs on the album, adds in some "normal" vocals while plenty of noise and beats swell up around him, if the lyrics are far from normal themselves.

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