King Tuff Shreds Through Black Moon Spell

King Tuff has been making killer tunes for awhile, creating a mess of rock n’ roll that brings in surf and punk rock influences with memorable hooks and a stoner persona. His 2012 self titled album was good in its own right, showcasing Tuff’s quirky stylings and lyrical choices, but Black Moon Spell shows that he might be the most talented clown on the scene. King Tuff has always provided slick riffs and clever lyrics, but this most recent effort is bursting with different guitar tones, pedal effects, and a laid back mentality that make this album a joyful listening experience.

Any guitar nerd should fall in love with this album the moment that first nasty lick, drenched in effects, comes in on the very first track. He lures you in with chill yet grooving riffs and then shifts into a more euphoric feel in the verse, seamlessly bringing that standout riff back in. Towards the end, the band brings in an even more spastic riff with a female voice that make the song well-rounded and a perfect set up for the rest of the album. “Sick Mind” showcases more of Tuff’s breakout guitar stylings and goofball mannerisms, with lines like she’s looking round the room in the fourth dimension/ she’s howling at the moon in your directions followed by his own earnest howl.

Rainbow Run brings in a fun, psychedelic vibe, while, King Tuff makes clear his soft spot for a good record collection and the woman attached to it on “Headbanger.” A love song about how me and you, we got a true connection/ I knew it when I saw your record collection and my love went to eleven when you bang your little head, Tuff backs up his desires with more chilled-out music, still maintaining a unique, fuzzy tone. His trademark is making you feel carefree and uplifted in simple, often goofy, ways that result in elated moments like those on “Beautiful Thing,” where he sings hey yeah! beautiful thing, forever and ever won’t you be my beautiful!, and more funny ones like on “I Love You Ugly,” I don’t care if you hate your face, say you look like toxic waste/ I love you, I love you ugly.

The transition into the second half of the album is led by “Magic Mirror,” and really kicks off with “Madness.” This might be the most fun jammer on the album, it leads off with more upbeat, thoughtful riffs and a hilarious introduction, King Tuff is my name! I’ve got madness in my brain! Pleased to meet ya, I’m gonna eat ya cause I’m batshit insane!. The back half of the album continues to reveal his crazy mentality and where it came from, he says cause I was once a normal kid / til the devil came down and he flipped my lid and I’m not normal and I can’t understand what it takes to be a normal man all with a superbly happy tone coming through his voice and delivery. Things only get weirder from there, “Black Holes in Stereo” contains some more psychedelic guitar riffs, a sonically messy chorus, and Tuff singing girls and boys come from outer space, and so does music too/ I learned more working at the record store than I ever did in high school.

Speaking of those days perusing old records, “Eyes of the Muse” noticeably brings in influences from classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin or The Who, first coming in with a heavenly acoustic and then introducing some bluesy riffs and hollers that are reminiscent of Robert Plant. “Staircase of Diamonds” is the most abstract feeling song on the album that ends with a distorted solo, while “Eddie’s Song” ends the album by seemingly portraying every sound he’s delved into up to that point. The riff pushes the song the entire time, claps add to the already great percussion choices, and Tuff’s state of mind becomes clear, forever young, but forever’s not very long/ so I’ll just keep on singing you this song. King Tuff’s Black Moon Spell is not only sonically captivating, but it also makes for an atmosphere that simply makes you want to jump around and enjoy the strangeness of life.

Pick up Black Moon Spell from Sub Pop Records, or stream it on Spotify below. Catch King Tuff at Union Transfer in support of Father John Misty, who recently put on an interesting performance on the late show with David Letterman. Get tickets here.

Photo via Sub Pop.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: 2015 Grammy Nominations Forgot These Great Rock Choices - Rock On Philly

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