Album Reviews

Album Review: Tobacco – Fucked Up Friends (Anticon)

By | Published on Monday 6 July 2009


Straight from opener ‘Street Trash’ it is clear that Tobacco has a wonderful talent. Blurring analogue synth, hip hop beats and Flaming Lips-style vocals with the dirtiest bass lines you can imagine, Tobacco drives the ideas ruminated upon in his other notable band, the wonderfully-titled Black Moth Super Rainbow, to the next level. Taking all the weirdness, psychedelia, and song craft from BRSM, Tobacco then pushes the envelope and winds up at something more recognisable to today’s hip hop-fed youth, specifically a Kanye West over-produced and over auto-tuned sound. Indeed the brilliant nature of the album is derived from its distinct multiple sources, leading to some effective and interesting juxtaposition, for instance, the moody, beat driven ‘Side 8’ sits at right angles to ‘Yum Yum Cult’, an experimental number that is softer in tone and reminiscent of the haziness of BRSM’s ‘Sun Lips’, yet they work together incredibly well. Sitting like a divider at the centre of the album, and one of its finest points, is the track ‘Dirt’. Featuring the talents of Aesop Rock (who has worked with Tobacco on numerous occasions), ‘Dirt’ combines what works best on the album; Tobacco’s unique song writing talents, dirty, scuzzy bass lines, gigantic synths and some of the most melodic vocals to appear throughout. Tobacco is at his refreshing and vital best on ‘Fucked Up Friends’, it takes a joyous leap from his previous work with BRSM and works in fresh elements to create something quite complex and visionary. SJS

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