Album Reviews

Blackmarket – The Elephant In The Room

(No Office) UK release date: 10 November 2008


Trying to ignore the awful truth while it hides quite unconvincingly behind the sofa is quite hard to do. Tusks poking into your lower back, the mysterious heaps of dung under the coffee table, and that trumpeting every time you switch the channel from what he wants to watch make it pretty impossible to ignore the elephant in the room.

Yet when it comes to unbelievably boring bands it would appear that no one has a problem ignoring the facts; they seem to be releasing albums all the time. I’m sorry to say that Blackmarket are remarkably tedious, and they’re nowhere near as much fun as having an elephant in the room sounds.

The problem is that this record sounds so nice. It’s supposed to be punky – I think – and there are elements of that here. It’s also got a fair bit of what some would call indie in there too; by which I mean Blackmarket sound a little like Placebo or Muse here and there, although not in enough quantities to get anyone excited.

Magic Tricks starts things off promisingly with some pleasingly frenetic guitars juxtaposed with the gentle vocals of Daryl Lamont. It goes along quite nicely, never really getting in your face while providing some fairly inoffensive background music at the same time.

From here on in, things go downhill quicker than a terminally ill patient covered in goose grease. Blackmarket’s main problem is not really an elephant in the room at all; it’s that goddamn one trick pony. It’s quite easy to say that a band’s songs sound all the same, and it’s not something you’d say lightly as it is generally something of a cop out.

Blackmarket seem to have some kind of manufacturing line for polite indie punk because even after several listens, it’s practically impossible to remember a single defining point of any of these songs. Everything is so one dimensional, that when the peculiar jangle of White Lie comes along, you breathe a sigh of relief. As it’s a bit of a ballad, it does at least change the pace a bit. It’s probably my favourite song on the album just by dint of being the one that sounds different and for the fabulously off kilter guitar solo, which is the standout moment of the whole album.

Closing track Out of Order sums things up quite nicely. Lamont sings “It’s a carnival without the rides” and he’s not far wrong. You get the feeling that there’s promise here though as Blackmarket are obviously talented but somehow they have produced a very safe and frankly uninteresting album. Something about their polite sound makes us hope that they regroup and come back with something truly exceptional. Until then, I’m happy to point out the elephant in the room.


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