THANK GOD THEY’RE BACK! Since Black Moth Super Rainbow’s jaw-droppingly hot 2009 album, Eating Us, the band have done nothing but tease, having scrapped a fully recorded LP and released only a compilation of unreleased tracks taken from their Dandelion Gum recording sessions. But it’s okay now, because Cobra Juicy has arrived and it’s ready to fill the pesky neo-psychedelia shaped hole that’s corrupting all of our hearts.
Kicking off at an uncharacteristically fast pace, lead single, Windshield Smasher sees BMSR’s usually very floaty sound take on a new life. Instead of drifting lazily atop a light breeze, the music veers into the path of a rapid jet stream, with raspy vocoder croons being swept along by crunching guitars and a simplistic yet super-charged drum beat. It’s still very obviously a Black Moth Super Rainbow track, but it certainly seems a diversion from what we’re used to hearing. The fact that the band are eager to play around with their well-established sound is indeed commendable, but a whole album in this vein might soon become a little tiring.
Fortunately, Windshield Smasher is about as balls-out Cobra Juicy gets, but if there’s one clear observable difference that separates this LP from its predecessors, it’s that in recording Cobra Juicy, BMSR have been taking more influence from the Rock end of the psychedelic spectrum than ever before. For the large part, electric guitars (or at least synthesized imitations of them) have replaced acoustic guitars. But one thing has remained a constant: those amazing analog synths. The ones that, in all their detuned glory, gurgle and plunk around every BMSR track, an essential ingredient for the thick hallucinatory stew that the band so often love to cook up.
The Healing Power of Nothing and Dreamsicle Bomb are two of Cobra Juicy’s lighter moments. Emancipated from the dense crunch of electric guitar that permeates so much of this album, it comes as a more than welcome opportunity for allowing the mind to wander aimlessly for a little while, before the more forceful side of this record returns and buckles you back into your seat. It’s all pretty textbook BMSR. However, Cobra Juicy seems to shine brightest when lead singer, Tobacco, uses the power of strong vocal melodies to their full extent. Like a Sundae and Spraypaint are the most strikingly catchy of Cobra Juicy’s 11 songs, the latter feeling almost ballad-like in nature. Here, Tobacco’s normally excitable digitized voice takes on a more forlorn quality, tapping into pop sensibilities as he closes the album singing the hook, “I couldn’t need you more” over and over again.
Overall, Cobra Juicy is a record that sees BMSR attempting a generally more conventional approach to their song writing. The songs seem to be more structured, and for some, that might come as a disappointment. But is it really fair or reasonable to expect a band whose career spans almost a decade to retain the same writing style throughout? Whilst this album isn’t packed full of shocks and surprises in the same way Dandelion Gum was, there’s certainly more than enough here to keep you coming back for more. Just don’t let its accessibility put you off.
Posted: Thu 11 October 2012