Like a rave gone wrong or an acid trip that just won’t end, the latest release by Pittsburgh-based musician Tobacco (see photo) is a true mind bender. Labeled “Maniac Meat,” the record boasts guest spots from Beck on two tracks and features schizophrenic-sounding synths as well as heavily-modulated vocals throughout.
Due to his other role as the creative ringleader behind psychadelic-freaks Black Moth Super Rainbow, Tobacco (aka Tom Fec) is no stranger to such unusual soundscapes. However, what’s different about his sophmore record is the noticeable change in tone.
The emphasis here is on a dirtier, more rough-edged sound than that found on his debut, and most songs oblige in spades. For example, the opening cut “Constellation Dirtbike Head,” (yes, that’s the real title), is seemingly awash in distorted static. While voices float in and out of the mix, the effect is more likely to spawn a headache than a spontaneous dance off.
Still, one has to admire the sheer breadth of Fec’s vision. With 16 tracks and a running time of nearly 45 minutes, most listeners won’t be able to stomach everything here in one sitting. But when the beats land like they do on “Heavy Makeup” or “Fresh Hex,” many fans will find the energy to clear their plates for a second helping.
Tobacco’s second album, “Maniac Meat” was released May 25 on Anticon Records. He also performed at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Mass. on September 16. You can listen to “Fresh Hex (feat. Beck)” here: \”Fresh Hex (feat. Beck)\” by Tobacco.