Under Review

Tobacco

Maniac Meat (Anticon)

Review By Andrew Reeves


Tobacco – Heavy Makeup

Maniac Meat is fucking dope. Funky and weird, it pulsates like a human heart in a cybernetic body. Hearkening to an era when analog synthesizers were what the future was supposed to sound like, it could be the soundtrack to a dream of William S. Burroughs stealing the TARDIS from Dr. Who [ed. Standing for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space, this is the name of Dr. Who’s time machine/phone booth.] and using it to slide through the kaleidoscopic arteries of space-time in search of junk and permissive young boys. Tobacco’s music is unapologetically sleazy, dehumanized and eroticized. These are some druggy vibes going on and not anything organic like shrooms or weed. This is chemical, but instead of being alienating and repulsive it kind of leers at you seductively and makes you think maybe you’re missing out on something, tempting you into its underground lair of blinking LCDs and little knobs that ache to be tweaked. There is a fair share of “living” drums and bass guitar that balances out the thick layers of synth. The vocals are almost entirely run through effects that sound like C-3PO’s debauched bohemian cousin. This is a good thing.

With track names like “Sweatmother,” “Mexican Icecream,” “Lick the Witch” and “Motorlicker,” one might sense a certain preoccupation with human moisture and anatomy. On “Heavy Makeup” the infectious hook repeats itself like a kindergartener chanting a schoolyard rhyme: “You got sick from a lolly lolly lolly pop / You feel free when you’re killing me.” “Fresh Hex” features Beck, his vocals cut up in a way impossible to duplicate live, and grooves hard. This is very subwoofer-friendly music. If anything critical might be said, listening to the whole album at once can make the constant synth sounds lose their impact, but the individual tracks will thrive mixed into a “shuffle” playlist, or injected into a house party that is a little too square and sober and needs a dose of grime and lubricant to get through all the frigid Puritan sexual repression still wafting up from America.