Chris Daly eats nicotine gum like it’s candy.
Contrary to everything you’ve heard before, TOBACCO is good for you after all. Nine out of ten music writers named Chris Daly (I was pissy that one day) agree that Panic Blooms, the latest from the carcinogenically named frontman’s band, Black Moth Super Rainbow, might bum you out, but you’ll strangely enjoy the melancholy.
For those unfamiliar with BMSR, imagine finding a 20 year old cassette tape that’s been sitting underneath a beer pong table, intermittently sucking up copious amounts of bong water, harsh sunlight, and the occasional melted crayon. The band is fond of deep audio manipulation, from heavily vocoded voices to freakish distortion, creating what could be the perfect soundtrack to that Salvador Dali movie that never was made.
Taking a sharp turn from the most accessible album in their catalog, 2012’s Cobra Juicy, Panic Blooms’ title kind of says it all. This is most definitely music for the Trump era, full of paranoia, disconsolate fear, and the first few hours of a really horrific acid trip. Tracks like “Bad Fuckin’ Times,” “Permanent Hole,” and “To the Beat of a Creeper” spell out the group’s intent here pretty clearly, and yet the album also contains some of BMSR’s prettiest, most melodic tracks to date.
In their own very fucked up ways, “New Breeze” and “Backwash” come as close to love songs as you’re likely to get out of this band, and look no further than “One More Ear,” for audio proof that there isn’t a sound collage that BMSR isn’t capable of lovingly fucking up in the best possible way.
Following 15 tracks of industrial sludge and liquid goth goodness, Black Moth decides to keep listeners on their toes by ending on the most upbeat sounding track on the album, “Mr. No One,” though you can decide for yourself whether lyrics like “Should get a little more sunshine/should get a little less haze around me” are plans for a better tomorrow or an admission that today still needs a lot of work. If that isn’t the perfect metaphor for living in 2018, I don’t know what is.