Album Review: Tobacco – Maniac Meat

Tobacco – Maniac Meat
Anticon: 2010
Purchase on Amazon

Fresh off of last year’s fantastic Black Moth Super Rainbow release Eating Us, frontman Tom Fec (Tobacco) has slapped together his sophomore solo record. Ladies and gentlemen, Maniac Meat is not for the faint of heart. Maniac Meat is not for the clean slated. Distortion set to damage, warped vocoder vocals; Maniac Meat requires post-listen showers.

Unfortunately it’s not too hard to play the role of musical “cafeterian” after listening to what Tobacco has to offer this time around. While wandering amongst this creative junkyard I was salvaging the precious pieces and leaving the rest in the wreckage. I’d overlook “TV All Greasy” which, very much like the synths used throughout the second half of the track, doesn’t give off much energy before fizzling out. All too easy to pass by “Mexican Icecream”, as even some very strong, passionate lyrical content from Fec can’t reel this one out of an apathetic funk. Even with some interesting sequences, “Unholy Demon Rhythms” is plagued by a devilishly horrific pulse. There was no intention for Tobacco to create an album when making most of the tracks found on Maniac Meat. The lack of cohesion and direction on this album places the songs in an anarchic order; a true every-man-for-himself situation. Although on the plus side, anarchy seems to be a strong suit with Tobacco. There are plenty of gems to be discovered.

The illustrious Beck Hansen is responsible for two brilliant tracks on Maniac Meat, starting with the alluring alliterative “Fresh Hex”. Favorite literary device aside, Beck’s vocals blend so well with the chaotic background. It’s a quick hit, only clocking in at a minute and a half, but it’s exactly what Maniac Meat needs at the front end of the LP. “Grape Aerosmith”, while not as immediately captivating as “Hex”, shines as soon as Hansen hits his first note; Beck begins, and right away the track expands into otherworldly territory. Picking and choosing on Maniac Meat speaks volumes about the album as a whole, but the quality found throughout the listen seems to overshadow to overall untidiness. “Six Royal Vipers” stands out with an all-around effort from Tobacco’s mystic vocals, an easy head-nodding beat to follow, and a scintillating arpeggio that sounds straight out of Mario Kart 64 (after stumbling upon an item that has yet to identify itself). “Lick The Witch” is as amusing as it is terrifying. All is fun and games until Tobacco slowly drops a line like “Lick the witch/ Make a friend tonight”. It’s easy to lose yourself in the music on Maniac Meat, and that’s a compliment to Tobacco’s efforts.

There can obviously be a lot said about how disorderly Maniac Meat plays, but when all is said and done, the brilliance found throughout the mess leaves Tobacco under a bright light. Pick or choose what you want from him, you won’t find another artist quite like Tom Fec.

★★★☆☆

3 out of 5

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