2022 saw UK’s BLACK MARKET KARMA a centre of attention and high praise through a host of ear grabbing singles and the album Aped Flair & Hijacked Ideas, the record proving a compelling collection of tracks cast in the band’s psych rock nurtured sound. Now they have opened up this year with another release in the shape of Friends in Noise, a project as its title suggests seeing BLACK MARKET KARMA’S creator and songwriter Stanley Belton teaming up with musician friends.
Revolving around Belton, BLACK MARKET KARMA is in a sense a collaborative project anyway but truly explores that dynamic within Friends in Noise. It features tracks which emerged as Belton collaborated with different artists over the past nine years as well as new link-ups. The idea of putting them together in one release has been a more recent but one our ears quickly became grateful for as we explored the release.
Unsurprisingly, the album is a psych rock bred set of tracks but songs embracing varied decades of flavour centred by sixties psych pop in sound and the use of vintage equipment. It opens with Aping Flair which sees BLACK MARKET KARMA and RUARI MEEHAN (Belakiss, Tess Parks & Anton Newcombe) in creative union. Gliding in on a radiance spilling psych lit jangle, the song instantly hits a lively stroll, one draped in melodic enterprise. It soon proves a soulfully captivating affair matched in magnetism by Meehan’s vocals with calm seduction and lively psych pop animation at its heart for a striking start to the release.
The following Wonky brings Belton together with Berlin outfit THE UNDERGROUND YOUTH and in particular their vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Craig Dyer. That sixties essence immediately washes over ears as the song breaks, harmonic vocals riding its more forceful waves of sound before it mellows out into another captivation of psych pop insistence. The cycle repeats with increasing persuasion, the melodic heart and smile of the song verging on a broad grin from within before The Sky Was All Diseased provoked the keenest attention. Our favourite song on the release features iconic Canadian songstress TESS PARKS and surrounds the listener in pure captivation. It is atypical pop temptation cast in angular melodies, beguiling nagging, and Parks’ mesmeric tones. A repetitious lure soaks every aspect of the track, hooks on a circular persuasion as rhythms taunt addictive tendencies, it all combining for what, we again echo from when checking its position as lead single, is a rich slavery of ears and pleasure.
A Joakim Åhlund remix of Heady Ideas, a track taken from BLACK KARMA MARKETS’ 2014 album, Upside Out Inside Down, is next. A member of LES BIG BYRD, TEDDYBEARS, and lead guitarist for CAESARS, Åhlund draws out the song’s energetic inclinations, aligning it to an even headier swelter of sonic and melodic heat. It is almost claustrophobic in its presence but another track which mesmerised while Belton’s own remix of LES BIG BYRD‘S War In The Streets ensured keen involvement of ears and body with its bold rhythmic shuffle, sonically fertile haze and evocative lyrics more than apt for the past months and ongoing major transgressions.
Friends in Noise closes out with Ageing Boy, a track which sees Belton and THE CONFEDERATE DEAD in the shape of Butchy Davy aligning their craft and prowess in a serenade of melodic haze around agitated rhythms. It is a soulful hug of sound and voice which only became more mesmeric by the listen yet straight away had us hooked with that infectious rhythmic tossing and turning and its inviting sonic shimmer.
It is a fine end to another richly enjoyable outing with BLACK MARKET KARMA, an album which has only become more captivating and magnetic to our for sheer pleasure playlist.
Friends in Noise is out now via Flower Power Records; available digitally @ https://flowerpowerrecords.bandcamp.com and on vinyl @ https://www.flowerpowerrecords.com/flower-power-records-vinyl-releases
Upcoming Tour Dates with THE BLACK ANGELS:
Jan 27th LISBON, Portugal – LAV
Jan 28th PORTO, Portugal – Hard Club
Jan 30th MADRID, Spain – Teatro Eslava
Jan 31st BARCELONA, Spain – Apolo
Feb 1st TOULOUSE, France – Le Bikini
Feb 2nd BORDEAUX, France – Rock School Barbey
Feb 4th GRENOBLE, France – La Belle Electrique
Feb 5th LAUSANNE, Switzerland – Les Docks
Feb 15th COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Vega
Feb 17th ANTWERP, Belgium – Trix
Feb 18th NIJMEGEN, Netherlands – Doornroosje
Feb 19th AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – Paradiso
Mar 15th TOURS, France – No New Fest (without The Black Angels)
Tickets available @ https://www.bandsintown.com/a/261797-black-market-karma
Pete RingMaster 18/01/2023
Copyright RingMaster Review
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