Black Market Karma – Cocoon

BL I know I write about a lot of undiscovered bands on this site, but honestly, how this lot have five albums out and yet are giving them all away for free when they are this good, and this accessible is beyond me. I mean, this is spiky psych-rock, but it’s not exactly terrifyingly rough, and the hooks are absolutely clear as day, right in front of your nose, and hummable as fuck.

The nature of their website and their label, Flower Power Records, which the band themselves seem to have set up so they could self-release in a slightly more formal manner, suggest to me that one of the reasons these guys are still basically unsigned and giving their music away for free is that instead of worrying about career path stuff, they just decided to make their music and get the fuck on with releasing it. Their statement that they started the label “to enable Black Market Karma to record and release their music as they want it to sound” certainly implies that they didn’t like the look of their options beforehand, anyway.

In any case, five records in, and after a lot of free giveaways, they are now on the verge of their first vinyl release. Annoyingly for the band, it’s not the record I am writing about here, but their latest: Semper Fi.  However Cocoon is the but this is the album I have been listening to so for now this is the one being reviewed, but you can download Semper Fi for free from here if you’d rather check that one out, with a view to purchasing the vinyl.

There is a Strokes-inflected psychedelic rock feel to most of Cocoon, although Hold Me Down has a definite flavour of Just Like Honey by The Jesus and Mary Chain.  Citing The Strokes in a review is always a tricky one, I have to confess. I think a lot of their work is monumentally boring, but First Impressions of Earth is a great album, and one with the bite and aggression that much of their other stuff sorely lacks, and that is the comparison I would make here. Admittedly a tune like Neutral lives up to its name a little too much, and there are one or two others which don’t quite catch fire as they might, but for the most part this is gleefully infectious, scuzzy guitar pop, played with a loose abandon and plenty of snap in the more raucous numbers.

Ultimately, though, this is just cracking pop music. Tunes like Sole Abuser and title track Cocoon can be hummed pretty much from the first listen, and I shall now be off for that free download of Semper Fi, very much hoping that it is as good as this album so I can get my hands on some vinyl!