Rating: 8 / Format: CD/LP / Label: Anticon
Not content with already releasing an album this year with his main group Black Moth Super Rainbow, Tom ‘Tobacco’ Fec has his 2008 solo full-length for California hip-hop label Anticon released in the UK. Said recent BMSR album, Eating Us, was fairly good. Pretty much the definition of pastoral electronica, it presented a cleaner sound for the band, as they – presumably unintentionally – filled that Boards of Canada-shaped gap that’s been open since 2006.
But while Eating Us was an efficiently shiny, albeit hollow, confection, Fucked Up Friends is a more lairy beast – as its name implies. But this is thankfully no switch to the lagered-up, deluded ladrocktronica of, say, Kasabian; FUF is lairy in a good way, and reminiscent of Boards Of Canada in thick synth and solid beats only. Unlike so many practitioners who think they can take us to a beautiful place in the country with some lazy boom-bap and analogue tones, Tobacco makes the aesthetic his own. Out of the window flies any pretence of hauntology or po-facedness. Instead, genuinely weighted beats and fuzzed melody are the prime currency.
And it’s great. It’s punk rock electro, only without the stress of trying to keep up with a restless Kid606 or Phantomsmasher. This is pop music in full force, but without the usual condescension that accompanies such a description, or the lameness of a La Roux or Passion Pit. Pop-punk electro? Well it’s gone in 36 minutes and you’re left with a pure high, much like the imminent Ear Pwr record, so why not? Fucked Up Friends might be Anticon, but it comes without the emo hand-wringing and half-baked politics we’ve come to associate with the label, and its re-release couldn’t have been better timed for summer.