Thursday, May 14, 2009

Reviews: Black Moth Super Rainbow - Eddi Reader

Dreamy-folk pop gang gets even more atmospheric with Dave Fridmann (noted for Flaming Lips collab.)
(words: milo)

Eating Us may be the closest Pittsburgh’s Black Moth Super Rainbow have gotten to a live rock record in the traditional sense. The band, a tight collective whose names are cloaked in aliases (just as lead singer Tobacco’s voice is shrouded in the robotic fuzz of a vocoder), has often mined the pop sensibilities between trip-hop’s euro-new-wave tasting chilly atmospherics and hip-hop’s tight, tumbling booming beats that set ideal grooves for any synthesized string to skirl over.

But, while it’s been a balance between the earthy acoustic and the fuzzy electro sheen, it has equally been a conversation between human and robot, keyboard and sampler, live drummer and drum machine.

As the band has evolved into a live-interpreting ensemble, past works’ heavy reliance upon electronics have developed into a healthy adaptation of the human rhythm. Eating Us is, at first a bit confusing since it appears to repeat previous entries (“Dark Bubbles,” “Fields are Breathing,”) set into eight new songs. But, properly qualified, the album is a declaration of the human element taking the lead – with reliance more on the wholesome invigoration of an arm splayed live drum kit and the spacey shrieks scraped from the pedals of guitar more then synthesizers. But it is not the abandonment for one arm (human) over the other (computer), both arms flex in harmony.

Making this a much tighter presentation, simple (11 songs, all roughly 3 minutes) melodious, fuzzy, pounding – the strange takes on dream pop, the sleepy dance sway and the soothing atmospherics blend nicely to create that confounding universality (that was hinted at on Dandelion Gum) of a hazy, ethereal rhythm-heavy folk, that feels right set to lone moonlit walks, morning dune-set picnics, long valley splitting road trips, or rainy day window pane daydreams.

Or hallucinogenic trips! Noise lovers will miss BMSR’s occasional embrace of the abrasive. The focus should be on this album’s balance…
Black Moth Super Rainbow - "Eating Us - medley"


Eddi Reader
Love is the Way
Rough Trade

Eddi Reader’s sound, here on her seventh solo album, is an elegant and deceptively soulful folk-ish woosh, potentially perceived at its surface to be yet more sweet shushing pleasentville coffeeshop soundtracks.

The classically trained singer, from the UK, spreads on layers of accordion-friendly euro-streetside café gypsy, with golden acoustics over chopety brushed percussion ringing in that reflective-metered-escapism of early 70’s singer/songwriters. But, what might do best to set her apart (better than those charming, wheezing accordions) is her voice. Upon introduction, she sounds firm but vulnerable, relatable and comforting, almost motherly. But as the album unfolds it starts to recall the striking stateliness of classic 40’s crooners in their tempered vibrato – blending into early 50’s folk and later-pop singers who could slide from a sexy hazy wisp into a firm, melodious moan. Add in penchants for poignant orchestral ballads mixed with piano-prancing doo-wop, and you start to uncover the glitter of her uniqueness that may get unjustly muddled by preconceptions flung from her (admittedly) close-ring to other endearing folkstresses like Nedelle, early Feist or Neko Case.

There’s veritable jovialness in the conversation between intricate instrumentation, there’s cutting, relatable philosophy in her lyrics and there’s refreshment on her ability to take potentially pigeonholed formulas (see: pretty girl with a guitar or her ability to take a love song for a city everyone already “loves” (New York) and make it fresh) and then surprise you by not only revealing her own take, but making you reconsider, too.

1 comment:

Richard Robert Sawoscinski The Third said...

Hey jeff we are opening for Black Moth Super Rainbow when the come to the stick. Figured you'd like to know.

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