Chris Daly is rarely safe for work
If anyone was concerned that Tobacco had softened his approach after his most accessible work to date with last year’s Cobra Juicy, I point you no further than the video for his latest single, “Streaker.” Directed by Eric Wareheim of Tim & Eric fame, the most recently released jam from the man known to his mother as Thomas Fec’s third solo outing, Ultima II Massage, takes the electro sleaze track and visually transforms it into a wet nightmare, a nocturnal emission gone horribly, horribly awry. Starting with an uncomfortable intro by a carnie like man in a white suit purporting to run a family business, it quickly devolves into naked bodies wearing scare the shit out of you masks. The effect lies between can’t not look at the car wreck suspense and don’t close your eyes because that’s exactly when the boogie man will get you. Oddly enough, it’s a pretty good description of the album, too.
While I personally think each project is better than his last, Ultima clearly deserves VIP seating in Tobacco’s catalog, particularly if you consider his solo work. Though he didn’t seem like a serial killer when I told him “killer set” on his Manic Meat tour back in 2010, the guy who also introduced this audience member to E.T. porn (Google it, I dare you) seems to have finally hit his stride. This is the culmination of orange and brown swirled ice cream sandwiches melting in the backseat of your mother’s station wagon, a technicolor brain fuck of immense proportions. Tobacco strikes me as that messed up kid in the A/V club who accidentally learned that spilling a Big Gulp on an old VCR tape made for some pretty fucking cool noises while huffing keyboard cleaner, man.
Already performed through a vocoder, nearly every vocal here is disfigured and distorted to the point of non-recognition. If you can make out a damn word he says on “Video Warning Attempts,” you’ve either got better speakers or ears than I do. Sure, “Eruption” is fairly discernible, but otherwise, the only word that regularly can be heard clearly throughout the project is some variation of “fuck.” This is the Electric Company as forcefully filtered through the Electric Acid Kool-Aid Test.
If the above description doesn’t scare you away, if you’re willing to listen to to the entire album, it’s honestly quite rewarding. Believe it or not, while purposefully beaten within an inch of its own life, Ultima is intended as meditation music (it says so right there in the PR notes that all critics loudly disdain, but secretly read). From the sun rotted, stretched beyond its own elasticity, rubber band groove of “Good Complexion” to the way too fuzzed out to sound this melodically appealing “Face Breakout,” there’s plenty of excellent cool kid mixtape fodder here. Then there’s the concussive sledgehammer of “Blow Your Heart,” the sublime yet still somehow soil your drawers “The Touch From Within,” and the overall freak show that is “Dipsmack”–given that the entire album sounds like it was melted in the same mad man’s oven, there’s a strangely diverse range of music here. If you can’t find something hear to blow wind up your skirt, well, you’re not welcome to my cocaine laced Pixie sticks.
Ultima II Massage. Music for the crowd that actively seeks out the brown acid.