Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Black Moth Super Rainbow, Dandelion Gum

With a band name like Black Moth Super Rainbow and song titles like”Neon Syrup for the Cemetary Sisters” and “Jump Into My Mouth and Breathe the Stardust” (I’m not making this up) you can pretty bmsrmuch guess what kind of music you’re going to get on “Dandelion Gum” – blissed out hippy-dippy noodling with flutes.  There’s some of that but for the most part BMSR avoid the kind of precious, earnest and boring psychedelic pop that is often produced by today’s ’60s wannabees in favor of well constructed and interestingly arranged pieces.

BMSR’s music is securely in the pop psychedelia vein with extended instrumental interludes that tend toward drones and slowly evolving, hypnotic riffs.  Their music stands in contrast to others who do the same kind of thing in that most tracks are well structured with a clear sense of development and purpose.   You rarely feel like you are being subjected to pointless meandering.  BMSR also stand out because of their instrumentation.  Yes, they play flutes, but their sound is primarily driven by a collection of analog synths and vocoderized vocals rather than tambourines and rudimentary acoustic guitars.  It’s atypical for this style of music and when combined with their well structured compositions it works well.

“Dandelion Gum’s” main flaw lies in the quality of its recording.  With their use of vocoders, a wide range of synths, and imaginative percussion BMSR makes music that should feature richly textured and full sound.  Instead we get lo-fi amateur recording that often sounds tinny, harsh or dull.  It’s a real shame because the crappy recording turns music that has the potential to be visceral and exciting into something that is bland and flat.  The more you listen to “Dandelion Gum” the more frustrating the poor sound becomes as you realize just how much better the album could be if it was competently recorded.  The band clearly aspire to produce music that is innovative and interesting and on the basis of “Dandelion Gum” they could pull it off.  However they need to lose the amateur approach to sound engineering and get serious about the way their music sounds as well as how it is composed.  It’s a major flaw.


10/24/2007 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews

1 Comment »

  1. People have different tastes in all things including music. The purpose of this blog is to bring info to people about music. That info is combined with evaluation that reflects my likes and dislikes but it isn’t about and has never been about whether you like what I like or I like what you like. For that reason I’ve never deleted or modified a comment that disagreed with a review. Until now.

    For a time people within a certain age range within a certain socio-economic demographic used “gay” as a general pejoritive term. (If I remember correctly, the term first attained widespread use in predominantly white, suburban elementary schools in the late 1970s and early 1980s and spread from there.) As the term became more visible, it provoked a vehement objection in the gay community where it was thought to evidence extreme prejudice against gay people. That objection has been so strongly stated for such a long time now that there is no excuse anymore for using a term that many people find deeply offensive. For that reason I am deleting the original comment and reproducing it below with the offending word eliminated. It doesn’t matter whether people like what I like and disagreements can provide the reader with more useful info if those disagreements are based on reasons rather than simple opinions. However, I will not allow language on this blog that is widely recognized as being deeply offensive and prejudicial even if some people use that language, or claim to use that language, without rancor. In other words, you can say whatever you like about my ideas and opinions about music but you can’t say it using language that others have condemned as prejudicial.

    The [modified] original comment follows:

    this is the [insert pejorative adjective here] review ever. but seriously it does read with a heavy air of lowbrow arrogance. im not even a devoted fan,(id prefer their earlier experimental acoustic material) but “hippy dippy noodling? major flaw?”

    and id have to absolutely disagree with
    ‘It’s a real shame because the crappy recording turns music that has the potential to be visceral and exciting into something that is bland and flat.’
    there is something undeniably, authentically raw and beautiful, and most definitly visceral and exciting (if not more so) about “crappy/poor and flaw filled” recordings.

    Comment by Cheese Please | March 23, 2008

    Comment by kmurnane | 03/24/2008 | Reply

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