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Start a People

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Album Review

It's an unconventional formula, to say the least: Black Moth Super Rainbow are as out-there musically as their name would imply. Psychedelia is the reference point, filtered through a childlike innocence and wonder, and implemented with bargain-basement instruments and electronics. For reference, imagine what an impromptu collaboration between Boards of Canada and M83 might sound like, especially if it took place on a lazy hazy summer afternoon at the Elephant 6 collective's studio after someone brewed some strong mushroom tea. Black Moth combine what sound like vintage analog synths and various keyboards and electronics that might have been dug out of an attic and dusted off for a thrift shop or yard sale. Add to that either a drum machine that has been dropped a few too many times or the most shoddily recorded live drummer ever. And add to that a vocalist who manipulates his voice with the cheesiest, chintziest child's vocoder ever. You wouldn't think it would work, yet it does; each track here is a gem. And while it doesn't live up to its more mature and fleshed-out follow-up, Dandelion Gum, the song sketches on Start a People lay down the blueprint for a lo-fi psychedelic manifesto unlike anything ever heard before. Standouts (in sound and title) include the Boards of Canada gone funk of "Vietcaterpillar," the circular noodling of the ditty-length anthem "I Am the Alphabet" (represented here in two versions), the horn "breakdown" in "Early 70's Gymnastics," the children's instructional counting singalong "Trees and Colors and Wizards," and the "exploring Mister Rogers' neighborhood on acid" pastiche of "I Think It Is Beautiful That You Are 256 Colors Too." A peek at the handful of lyrics provided suggests a darker side underneath all the sunshine and rainbows and lends weight to Black Moth's apparent utopianism and escapism.

Biography

Formed: 2002 in Pittsburgh, PA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A notoriously enigmatic band hailing from Pennsylvania, Black Moth Super Rainbow made waves on the indie circuit in the early 2000s with their brand of otherworldly, psychedelic indie pop. The project began in Pittsburgh in 2002, and expanded to include five members (Tobacco, the Seven Fields of Aphelion, Power Pill Fist, Iffernaut, and Father Hummingbird) in the following year. Packing a sound that nodded to contemporary retro-chic electronic acts like Air and the Octopus Project (who they would...
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Start a People, Black Moth Super Rainbow
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