When picking the genre for the album, St. Vincent Décor, I reluctantly chose alternative rock as its home. Not to say that Arizona-based Blackmarket doesn’t involve alternative rock in their arsenal, it’s just that they feel much more like an honest, infectious and unflinching “rock” band. Not only is the group comprised of the all too rare three-piece, but because of it they rely heavily on huge hooks and monster guitar riffs. Oh, and the album checks in with 10 tracks at just over 30 minutes -- it really doesn’t get more rock ‘n roll than that. As is the case with any band that delves into the world of three-minute songs, big choruses and clear-cut rock songs, you will inevitably think to youself at some point, “I feel like I’ve heard this song before.” This is because you have. What Blackmarket is doing isn’t the most innovative in music, nor is it meant to be. The album banks on the fact that good music is simply good music. Whether or not St. Vincent Décor changes your life is hardly the point. The point is to showcase three solid musicians who truly enjoy what they are doing.
Mike Emerson, Langdon Chieffo and Daryl Lamont comprise Blackmarket, playing together since they were in junior high. A comfortable chemistry is clear from the opening track, “Tongue Twister Typo.” Almost no time passes before the drum rolls kick in, huge guitar riffs following closely behind, finally coming together with a bass that aggressively grooves towards the introduction of Lamont’s vocals. His voice is everything you might expect from a rock singer; slightly scratchy, slightly agitated and more than slightly willing to belt a line or two.
“Blue Lemon,” finds the band willing to tone it down in regards to the guitar, opting for acoustic over electric. Lamont and company refuses to slow the pace though, using a mellotron (keyboard) to fill in any empty spaces in the music. The song sets a brisk pace from the onset and does not let up. The chorus, like most on the album, is instantly approachable.
Like a lot of rock bands though, Blackmarket suffers from the notion that there just has to be at least one acoustic track on the album. I, personally, never really understood this unwritten rule. “Catch and Release” is by no means a bad song, in fact, it is better than most others attempts. Problem is, when listening to song after song that offers up big sounds and bigger choruses; it just seems unnecessary to slow down the action. Really though, this is just me finding something pretty small to complain about amidst a whole lot to be happy with.
After listening to St. Vincent Décor, I came upon a pretty obvious realization that I hadn’t really ever consciously thought of: I really love music, and I really love reviewing music. Because of this, I can tell you that while I enjoyed this album thoroughly, it is in no way groundbreaking, which is sure to send the “serious” music listeners scurrying to find the newest buzz band to blog about. As for the rest of us, we are left with an unassuming album that is infectiously fun to listen to.
I’d say we win.