Tobacco – Ultima II Massage
A growling, distorted bass hums, a pitch-bent synth wobbles, clashing live drums shudder and lurch. "RIDE," commands a distorted, vocoder-destroyed voice, "RIDE, MOTHERFUCKER, RIDE." If the third album proper from Pennsylvania native, Anticon beatsmith and Black Moth Super Rainbow founder Tobacco is a ride, it's a goddamn rollercoaster. There's an organic, crunchy, layer of distortion over everything, and with an over-clocked palette of synthetic, digitally-created beats and crackling, dessicated analogue riffs, Tobacco pulls off the trick of making these tracks sound like they were played by a kick-ass band.
Eruption is one of the best pop songs of the year, buried under so much fuzz and grunge that it becomes a headbanging anthem. Failed Video Warnings evokes scratchy VHS Manga soundtracks; Lipstick Destroyer is rabies-infected electro-house; Dipsmack is straight-up punk filtered through decimated techno, while Blow Your Heart melds shoegaze and Daft Punk, plundering the same realms of hyper-sexual neo-disco and cosmic P-Funk the French duo explore, but filtered through a grubby, trailer trash aesthetic that teams subversive, crotch-grabbing lyrics with setadily intensifying glitches and de-rezzed synths. Ultima II Massage will leave you feeling breathless, euphoric and drunk. This is hardcore. [Bram E. Gieben]