**these are the last remaining vinyl. black vinyl edition **
Seemingly relegating Black Moth Super Rainbow to “side project” status, that band’s mastermind TOBACCO returns with a record designed to bully his previous works into a corner, gut them, and leave ’em for dead. Though Maniac Meat is steeped in the Pennsylvania-based artist’s swampy analog aesthetic, this is not an album about looking back – neither to the black psychedelic pop of BMSR, nor to the warped rap thump of TOBACCO’s 2006 debut, Fucked Up Friends.
Rather, this album emerged as antithesis. TOBACCO crafted Maniac Meat as he put the finishing touches on BMSR’s more accessible last record, Eating Us, treating the solo release as a depository for his more primal urges. The only live instrumentation to cross over was the guttural stuff: thrashing bass and clanging drums. But even as the TOBACCO material grew darker, deeper and nastier in tone, it also became something with real swag. Not a hip-hop record, per se – just something that parties like one.
Take, for instance, opening track “Constellation Dirt Bike Head.” Here, Maniac Meat hits the ground running: cymbals crashing, keyboards firing, fuzz bass blasting. TOBACCO’s distorted vocals sound like something exhaled from a bog, gushing, “Burn all your things,” like a mantra directed at his back-catalog. Later, the chest-crushing “Unholy Demon Rhythms” sets itself on fire, melting a beatbox sample and Jean Michel Jarre-like synth excursions into a hot, tactile mass. One of album’s best, “Heavy Makeup,” is upbeat electro-pop caked in wet earth, eventually interrupted by a searing harmonica solo.
Is it any wonder then, that Maniac Meat – which plays like a dingy refraction of the pink-hued era that TOBACCO came up in, the late ’80s/early ’90s – would attract the attention of Beck Hansen? He’s the record’s lone guest, alternately sparring and coasting with TOBACCO’s well-known arsenal of vintage synthesizers, noise boxes and voice modulators. On “Fresh Hex,” Beck’s alliterative, free-associative rap is chopped to bits over baroque key sequences and whirring effects, while on “Grape Aerosmith,” the chameleonic singer stretches out in a pool of flickering etherea.
Of course, it’s not long before this quieter moment is blasted away by the droids-on-’roids Daft Punk-y explosion that is “New Juices From The Hottub Freaks.” Between this near-danceable track, the psychotropic chillwave cool of “Lick The Witch,” and the dubstep-dank, low end-fueled “Motorlicker,” it’s amply clear that Maniac Meat is TOBACCO’s most varied creation to date. The record also sports more vocals than its predecessor, with the glitch-riddled “Six Royal Vipers” and warped banger “Overheater” bleeding strange imagery into the mix – shadows of ancient psychedelia buried under glistening murk.
As “Nuclear Waste Aerobics” brings TOBACCO’s new, and best, album to a close in a hail of uncouth drums and aggressive fuzz – eventually unfurling into a billowing quilt of lush, legitimately bright sound – Maniac Meat’s greatest strength becomes clear. In all of that unchecked destruction, an odd beauty persists – organic as rot, enduring as death.
* download card included with all vinyl orders of this release.