Editors' pick

Black Moth Super Rainbow


Editorial Review

New Black Moth: Easy to Digest
Friday, July 24, 2009


"Eating Us"

Kindred spirits: Flaming Lips, Boards of Canada, Super Furry Animals

Show: Sunday at the Rock and Roll Hotel. Show starts at 8:30 p.m. 202-388-7625. http://www.rockandrollhoteldc.com.

Black Moth Super Rainbow makes smooth music. Not smooth like Christopher Cross or the Doobie Brothers -- there's nary a nautical reference or a saxophone solo to be heard on "Eating Us," the Pittsburgh sextet's fourth full-length album.

But it can be said, and fairly, that Black Moth Super Rainbow's songs have the consistency of soft-serve ice cream.

Some of that comes from the group's fondness for synthesizers. Fuzzy keyboard tones are trickled all over "Twin of Myself," giving it the gauzy temperament of a '70s-era chemistry documentary. And the production by Dave Fridmann, who helped the Flaming Lips switch from acid rock to epic pop, also makes a big difference. But it's Tobacco, the frontman, who really keeps "Eating Us" mellow. His eerie bubble-gum melodies are so thoroughly processed -- through delay, vocoder and apparently anything else that was hanging around the studio -- that they sound utterly alien. "Neon lemonade/Ate my face away," he sings on "Iron Lemonade," sounding like Gobo Fraggle after a lungful of helium.

But there are benefits to making music that sounds as if you could eat it off a cone -- especially during the summer, when it's hot outside. Black Moth Super Rainbow may be smooth, but it's also pretty cool, too.

-- Aaron Leitko