King Tuff: Black Moon Spell

Black Moon Spell is the latest offering from bedroom garagepop wunderkind Kyle Thomas. This album finds Thomas running wild with the 70s glam sound found on his earlier albums. Fuzzed out and poptacular, Black Moon Spell bops along from tune to tune with catchy choruses and pop hooks jammed into anywhere that’ll fit. Much like Thomas’s last two albums, Black never takes itself too seriously and approaches its glam idols with irreverence. He likes to toe the line of imitation closely, as the vocal similarity to Marc Bolan gets pretty uncanny at times, and some of those guitar riffs could be copy/pasted right off Mott The Hoople or Ziggy Stardust.

I think a bit is lost here with the purposefully goofball approach though, as it fails to be as memorable as King Tuff or the powerpop glamrock it worships. Nevertheless, tunes like “Black Moon Spell” almost demand a second listen with its teasing chorus hooks and crunch-ass guitar. “Eyes of the Muse” finds itself a lot closer to Big Star, but is still unmistakably King Tuff. “Rainbow Run” is the garage-iest track here with its echo-laden verses. “I Love You Ugly” is a fun little tune but is unfortunately only a minute long.

All in all, Black Moon Spell is definitely a fun, rompy October album, but I think we might be seeing the full-on revival era wear out its welcome here. It’s one of the most originality-infused revival albums this year, but I can’t help but feel that it just doesn’t feel nearly as fresh or relevant as King Tuff did even two years ago. It’s not to dismiss the song quality on Black, but Thomas and his contemporaries seem to already be finding diminishing celebration for their musical grave robbing.


All things being said, I feel the promo sheet concludes things best: “God and The Devil actually have very similar interests. They both love electric guitars and they both want you to listen to Black Moon Spell and freak the f*** out”.

Recommended if you like: T. Rex, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Ziggy Stardust

Recommended Tracks: “Black Moon Spell,” “Rainbow’s Run,” “Eyes of the Muse,” and “I Love You Ugly”

Reviewed by Doug Bybee on October 2, 2014