Black Moth Super Rainbow’s name, in a mere four words, manages to sound like both the title of an Ingmar Bergman film and the poorly translated name of a foreign cartoon. This is wholly emblematic of the paradoxical mood of Dandelion Gum: syrupy sweet yet existentially heavy. The Pennsylvania band has racked up comparisons to pre–arena-rock Pink Floyd, an accurate enough way to describe tracks like “Neon Syrup for the Cemetery Sisters” and “Jump into My Mouth and Breathe the Stardust.” But Black Moth’s true precedent isn’t ’60s psych-rock or Tangerine Dream–style ambience. The record’s blaring, all-encompassing atmosphere, full of soaring synthesizer rushes and bent phaser-blasts, is really the stuff of early-’80s PBS children’s programming intros, of damaged film strips and decaying VHS tapes.
Indeed, Dandelion Gum is a disc full of warbling, warped songs that work on the weirdest corners of your memory. The synth swirls that open “When the Sun Grows on Your Tongue” sound immediately familiar, bringing to mind jittery Claymation flowers growing and disintegrating on a TV screen. For an audience raised in the incipient days of cable cartoons, the songs evoke a strange wistfulness, aided by frontman Tobacco’s vocoded vocals and barely discernable references to the inexorable march of time. This may be spacey pop perfection, but more importantly, it creates a singular sonic microcosm that recalls the ineffable weirdness of childhood.
Black Moth Super Rainbow play the Fillmore at Irving Plaza June 8 with Architecture in Helsinki, irvingplaza.com
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 29, 2007