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Ultima II Massage

TOBACCO

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Album Review

As with all the Tobacco albums so far, the frontman of Black Moth Super Rainbow dispenses with that group's sticky whimsy in favor of something harsher and noisier, but still insanely catchy and fun. Ultima II Massage is his first album for new label Ghostly International and it's probably his best so far. It's got everything one has come to expect in a Tobacco project — the trademark woozily overloaded synths, his heavily treated vocals, the totally warped melodies — only this time they are all turned up to ten. Or at least nine. There's not a weak song in the bunch, with hooks sharper than knives and the tightly wound and perfectly layered sound making it all go down smoothly. As smoothly as an album with song titles like "Father Sister Berzerker," "Lipstick Destroyer," and "Face Breakout" are supposed to go down, anyway. And there is a thread of toughness running through the album that's new for Tobacco as his almost untreated vocals on "Eruption" drop more profanities than your average rapper, and many of the songs have hard-charging beats and rippling, chainsawed synths that almost verge on some weird mutant form of heavy metal. He does rein in the aggression with some pretty songs, like the loping "Self Tanner," and some laid-back grooves ("Good Complexion") that help make the experience a well-rounded one. There's even a song, the rollicking "Blow Your Heart," that could be a chart hit on some planet that's just a little weirder than this one. Ultima II Massage is a uniquely Black Moth and Tobacco experience to be sure, and anyone who's been exposed to their odd and wonderful world in the past will find this album to be among the best things to come out of it.

Ultima II Massage, TOBACCO
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