From somewhere in the wilds of western Pennsylvania comes this rural space-rock freak-show of noisy synths and hauntingly overproduced vocals. It’s analog futurism from deep in the alien trees, synthetic sweets from fairytale legend. Described as a concept album about candy-making witches from the forest, the experimental synthesizer electro-pop on Dandelion Gum comprises one of the weirdest, most intriguing albums of the year, even if it’s more of an intellectual conceit than a toe-tapper.
Two running sonic themes on Dandelion Gum single-handedly dominate the album. All of the vocals are sung through — or emerge from — an eerie, cyborg vocoder. Also, most songs center on a high-pitched octave-shifting synth, which does get tiresome and is redundant given the seemingly endless palette at Black Moth Super Rainbow’s disposal.
That’s not to say these two dominant sounds are alone. In addition to them, “Jump into My Mouth and Breathe the Stardust” manufactures a wooden-flute/guitar-rustic folk vibe. “Melt Me” summons maracas and a plodding distorted bass. Most enjoyable are the more placid keyboard atmospheres of “Rollerdisco” and “The Afternoon Turns Pink,” snatches of blue sky in Dandelion Gum‘s seductive dark forest. It recycles the ethereal yet jarring “Lollipopsichord” from its intriguing 2006 collaboration with the Octopus Project, The House of Apples and Eyeballs, an overall more successful project that successfully blended two idiosyncratically myopic outfits.
After a while, it feels like madness is lurking right over your shoulder, but at that point you might not even care. For those with the taste for it, this witches’ brew is worth ingesting the poison.
“Sun Lips” MP3: