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Tobacco: Maniac Meat

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Experimental psych-pop collective Black Moth Super Rainbow took an unexpected turn toward normal(ish) on last year’s explosively catchy Eating Us; now one of the band’s primary creative forces, Tobacco, steers his truck back off-road on his latest solo project, Maniac Meat. The new album’s style will be immediately familiar to BMSR fans: disco bounce, air-raid synthesizers, intense freckling of light and shadow, and distorted vocoder-aided vocals that sound like some post-apocalyptic customer-service hotline. But Maniac Meat plays rougher and heavier; the songs sound like first drafts, knocked out in a burst of inspiration, then run through as many sonic filters as possible to dirty them up. At first, Tobacco’s grip-and-rip approach is invigorating, on songs like the jarring, riffy “Constellation Dirtbike Head,” the sinewy “Mexican Icecream,” and the unhinged, Beck-aided “Fresh Hex.” But since the sound of Maniac Meat is really no different than BMSR (or Tobacco’s earlier solo albums), the lack of memorable melodies or thoughtful composition becomes increasingly frustrating as the record drones on. An album called Maniac Meat shouldn’t be so predictable.