Black Moth Super Rainbow – Eating Us (Graveface)

After three full-length albums and a handful of EPs, it’s only natural that Pennsylvania psychedelic outfit Black Moth Super Rainbow would feel the need to expand on its sound. Not that Eating Us, the band’s fourth release and second for Graveface Records, marks a significant stylistic shift. The band still deals in hazy keyboards, shimmering guitars and front man Tobacco’s sickly sweet vocodored vocals and they still anchor it all with deep, head-bobbing beats.

Rather, the big difference is in the texture. Where the band previously embraced the warbly imperfection of its lo-fi recording process, Eating Us is all about crisp production. Credit for the newfound polish (or blame, for the purists) goes to Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann — the first professional producer the band has recruited. The drums in particular bear Fridmann’s fingerprints, compressed to perfection for maximum impact on album opener “Born on a Day the Sun Didn’t Rise,” but the entire album is noticeably crisper than the band’s previous output, even as it maintains the laid-back psych vibe.

While Black Moth has never been shy about the influence of electronic music on its sound — the band has even been derided in some corners as just an analogue take on Boards of Canada — the production on Eating Us brings that influence to the forefront. “Gold Splatter” particularly sounds like an outtake from Air’s Moon Safari, albeit one that’s as good as anything that actually made it onto that album. It also makes the album an easy entry point for a band that’s always hidden its pop instincts beneath occasionally off-putting production. In fact, with its hazy atmosphere and casual hookiness, Eating Us comes very close to being perfect blissed-out summer listening. It’s only when you really start to pay attention, and hear lines like “Neon lemonade, eat my face away” (from “Iron Lemonade”) that you realize the band’s trademark weirdness is still present. There are some things that production can’t change.

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