Fuzzy, freaky and freeing
Psychedelic synth-pop legends Black Moth Super Rainbow have released their first full-length album in six years, titled Panic Blooms. The album resides somewhere between gruesome and comforting, sinister and sappy all at once. The songs are fuzzy and warped, as though you may have stumbled upon a sun-bleached cassette tape on the ground and popped it in to give it a try. The album stumbles on, and while every track is fairly brief, there’s no rush. Each song really feels like it’s own world, and there’s a sense that perhaps they don’t want to leave it just yet, with a dozy meandering captured in less than three minutes per track.
It’s easy to consider this laissez-faire dismissal of the world as a sign of the times, but for BMSR, it’s not necessarily political. Throughout the years, their M.O. has been to let the music encapsulate everything surrounding it in one fell swoop. The melodies linger on, and frontman (and sole member) Thomas Fec (aka Tobacco) makes his points simple and clear. Panic Blooms has the essence of a children’s music CD that was boiled down in a pot with a handful of Xanax and some rat poison. It’s an album to get lost in, a luxurious rejection of your surroundings beyond your control. Panic Blooms is moody and fuzzy like a tumultuous acid trip. It’s best to just go along with it and see what follows.
“Sunset Curses” is reminiscent of a lonely, long-lost Nintendo 64 game, with a vocoder brazenly crashing into the melody. It feels like a fantasy world: melancholy, disconnected and fantastic. “Rip On Through” gets into the groove of the album, with a playful beat and Fec’s gruff voice breaking through the layers of sound. The chorus, “For you, for you/ There’s nothing I can do,” conveys his frustration. Just as he’s about to burst, layers of noise rip through and warp into their own hissing melodies.
Title track “Panic Blooms” begins with a somber organ-like opening before descending into thrilling waves of distortion as a deep bass line etches its place into the song. “Mr No One,” released as a single, is the closest thing this album gets to a pulsing pop hit. It is infectious, as Fec seems to come to a resolution, “I don’t care/ If you don’t need me” and the resulting sound is a feeling of pure freedom and motivation. Panic Blooms is everything BMSR does well- fuzzy, freaky pop music, with an emotional depth that will touch you at your core.