Tobacco:Ultima II Massage (Ghostly International) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, May 25th, 2020  

Tobacco

Ultima II Massage

Ghostly International

May 15, 2014 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Black Moth Super Rainbow frontman Thomas Fec, or TOBACCO, releases his third solo album Ultima II Massage, named after a massage parlor in Fec's home state of Pennsylvaniathough as an album it's less a relaxing backrub and more a microdermabrasion treatment for your eardrums. Fec's solo recordings naturally share a lot with his band's leftfield electronicaheavily manipulated vocals, brutally squelching bass sounds underneath spacey analog synthsbut taken to more experimental, noisy extremes than Black Moth's dreamier vibe. TOBACCO makes dance music for the apocalypse, when the audio equipment has all been damaged by nuclear disaster and thick swathes of fuzzy, scuzzy synth are all that's left to drown out the sound of screaming.

Many of the track names on the album are, like its title, concerned with the endless pursuit of bodily perfection"Good Complexion," "Lipstick Destroyer," "Self Tanner," "Face Breakout." Together with the hard-edged, shiny sterility of the music, they create a vision of seedy stripmalls in the shabby part of townall tanning salons and flickering neon signs advertising budget manicures, tarmac melting under overhead sun. It's a twisted and disorienting walk along the sidewalk, but there's something oddly glamorous in its ugliness.

In Ultima II Massage, TOBACCO has made a record capturing the overblown aggression, paranoia, and appearance-obsession of the Internet age; people pumping themselves full of plastic and chemicals to try and look pretty in an ugly world. It's challenging, and it does get a little repetitive, but it's a grand ambition and one that Fec mostly pulls off. (www.maniacmeat.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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