Hailing from rural Pennsylvania and sporting one of the weirdest band names since The Flaming Lips (a band they’re opening for this fall), Black Moth Super Rainbow has quietly made a few retro-minded instrumental albums over the past five years. Dandelion Gun, their latest, continues with their psychedelic soundscapes while managing to make a more lasting impression than the last few Air albums combined.
Their secret is two-fold: memorable melodies created on instruments (and recording studios, for that matter) that are no less than a quarter-century old. The instrument of choice ends up being a variety of pawn-shop synthesizers underneath a dated vocoder. This strategy makes deciphering the vocals (when they’re present) nearly impossible and, because it’s used so frequently, there’s a chance that a listener can grow fatigued of the gimmick while sober and/or long periods of listening.
But when Dandelion Gum is taken in small sittings, and one of the best methods is to throw in an individual track on a mix-tape, the results are enormously rewarding. For the past month, I’ve been enamored with the opening track “Forever Heavy,” going as far as to include it on my own commute mix and add it as a song profile to my own MySpace page (they’ve since deleted the track).
That song, as you’ll discover throughout most of the album, eloquently balances low-fi economics (here’s hoping B.M.S.R. never gets a proper recording budget) with lysergic-fueled visions (apparently, Dandelion Gum is a “Hansel & Gretel” themed concept album) to create a spacious, and sometimes creepy, album.
As hokey as their stage names are (the band members are referred to as Tobacco, Iffernaut, Father Hummingbird, Power Pill Fist, and The Seven Fields of Aphelion) and as limiting as their antiquated equipment may be, Black Moth Super Rainbow deserves a wider audience, which is hopefully what will happen after a high-profile tour with their fellow Oklahoma zanies. At the same time, with Dandelion Gum being just a few tracks short of long lasting flavor (get it?), they’re well on their way to getting that wider audience completely on their own.
Black Moth Super Rainbow – “Sun Lips” (in-store performance)