EP Review – Friends in Noise by Black Market Karma And Friends (Flower Power Records) (2023)


I have always been a bit weary of “psyche” and its many derivations. Obviously, 60s psyche, especially when augmented by a West Coast vibe and its jangly machinations, can be glorious, but somehow modern psyche only ever seems to be a hop, skip, and jump away from the madness that might be omitted from particularly drug-addled Druids.
Step forward Stan Belton’s Black Market Karma (and Friends) to restore my faith in the modern-day version of the genre with an eclectic mix of tracks whose quality thrives due to the accumulative input of his collaboration with five different artists.
The juxtaposition of psyche and the jangle-pop we crave is never far away. At its most subtle, Aping Flair (w/ Ruari Meehan) drifts tiny jangled riffs through a mixture of drone and fuzz-pop to provide a fragile ying to the dominant yang, whereas at its most garrulous, the jangle within Belton’s remixed Version of War In The Streets feels like the result of The Coral listening to too much The Radio Field.
However, the very best of this release is heard in the tracks that infuse its psyche with Indian mysticism. The epic six-minute-long The Sky Was All Diseased (w/ Tess Parks) embraces a whiff of mysticism alongside dulcet, dense Velvet Underground style under-production, whereas Heady Ideas – Joakim Ahlund Remix dives headfirst into the vibe with its Kula Shaker / World of Twist aesthetic.
Wonderful jangle encrusted psyche and completely free from ‘high druids’ !


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