- CD with 2 bonus tracks
- Burn Your Nation
- Behind the Line
- Feel the Beat
- Solar System
- Mother of the Sun
- Brain Circles
- I Love Rock n' Roll
- Cosmic Flower Blues
CD ONLY BONUS TRACKS
- C'mon C'mon C'mon (Bonus Track)
- Look With the Eyes of Freedom (Bonus Track)
Release Date: March 23, 2018
Label: Heavy Psych Sounds Records
It’s easy to imagine the mouthful title of riff-rocking Roman trio Black Rainbows third album, Supermothafuzzalicious!! (double-exclamation points included), emerged as a spontaneous outburst upon hearing the record in studio playback. It’s about as apt a title as I could come up with, and though the band seem to be perpetually following the riffs of guitarist/vocalist Gabriele Fiori, they have undertaken some creative growth since their 2008 debut, Twilight in the Desert, which while not without its charm or tonal appeal felt more singly derived from Kyuss. Released by Longfellow Deeds/Heavy Psych Sounds, Supermothafuzzalicious!! presents a Black Rainbows who come across as more mature musically without losing sight of a lighthearted lyrical nature. Songs like opener “Burn Your Nation,” on which Fioripersonalizes a popular heavy rock theme of being born too late and, according to him, in the wrong place, and the much later penultimate “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” – the title of which also comprises most of the lyric content – prove that while Black Rainbows have moved beyond their simplistic beginnings – 2010’s Carmina Diabolo providing a transitional place between the first and third releases – Fiori, bassist Marco De Masiand drummer Daniele Conti are still having fun. Their love of the genre remains intact, and with upbeat, California Crossing-esque grooves on “Behind the Line” or “Brain Circles,” they stand in line with nigh on two decades of heavy traditionalism even as they manage to inject the songs with a personality that’s more distinctly theirs than anything they’ve done before.
The album’s 10 tracks/44 minutes divide into almost exactly even vinyl-ready sides between CD centerpiece cuts “Solar System” and “Lady,” and indeed Black Rainbows seem committed to physical formatting, as limited LP editions of Supermothafuzzalicious!! have been made available in several different colors (yellow, fuchsia, green) and both jewel case and digipak CDs are on sale. As regards their sound, it’s likewise thought out, as although Fiori and company maintain an air of spontaneity that only really wavers on side B dip “Mother of the Sun,” there’s also the clear impression the album gives that they’re fully conscious of what they’re doing in terms of the songwriting. These songs feel loose – in their construction, not performance – they feel accessible, warmly fuzzed, but underlying that, the strength of the choruses as delivered by Fiori and the smoothness of the rhythms carried across by his guitar and De Masi and Conti shows that there are no real accidents here. “Behind the Line,” which is the shortest song on Supermothafuzzalicious!! apart from the epilogue/closer, “Cosmic Flower Blues,” proves that. At 3:16, it is a treasure of groove-riffed simplicity, but each ebb and flow in Fiori’s guitar and the straight line that Conti draws on drums through the start-stop central figure is admirably committed to portraying heavy homage and serving the track’s catchiness. “Mastermind,” which follows, is longer and somewhat darker in its lyric, but still works in terms of the overall flow of the album. That flow is almost entirely unwavering throughout, and greatly aided by the balance of the mix, which puts the vocals on an even level with the guitar and De Masi’s bass – itself shining through on “Mastermind” in both its lockstep with and work around Fiori.
For all its talk of killing and dying tonight and the rest, “Mastermind” has one of the funkiest endings of the record, though as much as I wish Black Rainbows would pull it back before moving into “Feel the Beat,” they don’t. The main riff of “Feel the Beat” reminds of something off the last Riotgod, but I imagine it’s coincidence, and either way, the song is outshined (appropriately enough) by “Solar System,” which puts Conti on the wood block and offers Supermothafuzzalicious!!’s most infectious groove in a later slowdown marked by more open riffing and space rock noise-making behind. Black Rainbows claim allegiance to classic heavy, and it shows through some on “Solar System,” but like most of their work to date, their love of Blue Cheer and Sabbath comes through a filter of ‘90s-style stoner interpretation. That’s least true on “Lady,” which starts side B with bluesier drive in its verse and the best performance from Conti on drums, in which he seems to satisfy at once the urge for a straightforward beat to highlight the riff and one that’s capable of holding up the groove all on its own. Organ flourishes later add depth of approach, and the blues-based run continues in a pace-cutting finale. “Lady” is the longest of Supermothafuzzalicious!!’s individual parts, and a standout stylistically, which helps make “Mother of the Sun” feel like something of a comedown. Despite a hooky riff, it lacks the bite of “Brain Circles,” which follows and accomplishes most of the same moves musically while also seeming more efficiently executed. The back half of “Mother of the Sun” seems clunky, where “Brain Circles” takes some of the noodling that “Mother of the Sun” tries to pull off and makes the repetitive feel work better.
Nonetheless, there should be no question that Black Rainbows stand out as one of Italy’s strongest post-OJM stoner rock outfits, and the charm parade that is “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” only affirms it. Fiori professes his love again and again and loses none of the conviction in his declarations amid an easy-rolling riff that rides out amid surprisingly piercing psych swirls and an impressive solo. That leaves “Cosmic Flower Blues” the task of marching Supermothafuzzalicious!! to its finish, and the song is more than capable of it. A single riff presents itself early and stays for the duration, Fiori adding a few verses and capping with a solo that seems to be letting listeners know that the party doesn’t have to end just because the song has faded out. If that’s the message to take away from Black Rainbows’ third album, it’s a suitable one, and they’re suitably qualified to state it. Veterans now of the near-mythical Duna Jam and shows with the likes of Nebula and Los Natas, they seem ready and willing to don the mantle of being forerunners of the still-growing Italian stoner scene, and Supermothafuzzalicious!! argues well in their favor. They’re not quite at the point where they’re expanding the form they’re working in yet, but these songs show they’re not far off, and quality songwriting for stylistic redundancy is a tradeoff anyone who’s listened to more than three stoner rock records should be well accustomed to making. It’s unpretentious, not trying to change the world, it grooves and it’s a good time. As long as that’s the case, I’m glad to listen. If nothing else, the album is as advertised. - The Obelisk