Black Market Flowers by Mountain MenRelease date: November 18, 2016
Label: Echo Productions
The first time hearing Mountain Men was over six years ago, happily trailing videos online of bands and artists performing live in various places around the world. Something about the incredible command and gracefulness that both Mr Mat and Barefoot Iano had when playing their music just completely captivated myself, turning me into a life-long fan of the band. Since then, the band have expanded upon their blues roots, further incorporating more elements to help develop their sound whilst still retaining those essential qualities that make their music so uniquely their own. On their latest album Black Market Flowers, we see the band further refining their sound, creating another wholly enjoyable album experience.
Black Market Flowers once again puts us straight into that foray of indulgent blues rock, extenuated by powerful vocals and irresistible harmonica performances. The elements one would expect from the band are all present on the album, from hard-rockers, to beautiful acoustic numbers to the odd one or two tracks sung entirely in French. It seems to be the tried and tested method of the band, and whilst some bands fall into a risk of becoming stale with such methods, Mountain Men make it all work with their resilient hard work and constant effort in simply improving upon what they have already done. Many of the tracks come across as some of the strongest performances from each of the members, standing out as contenders for some of their most impressive work thus far.
Whilst 2012’s Hope saw Mountain Men really breaking through and incorporating new ideas into their mix, and pulling it off very well, 2014’s Against The Wind saw this practice being refined. To put it simply, done again, but improved in so many ways. Black Market Flowers seems to be more of the same, with it sounding so quintessentially them, but mostly faultless. Each song flows wonderfully into the next, giving a varied experience that just exudes incredible amounts of enjoyment in the band. Some may feel as though it’s perhaps not as adventurous as previous albums, but the material presented is of a great standard that the band have always managed to display.
Maybe the reality is different to the image we as listeners conjure up in our head when listening to music, but Black Market Flowers comes across as an album experience where all those involved enjoy the process, and enjoy what it is they have created. That level of enjoyment just feels incredibly infectious, transferring itself into us, the fans, putting a smile on our faces as we indulge ourselves in the music. The fact that Black Market Flowers instantly put me back into the place where I was remembering all the many reasons why I love their music is perhaps one of its strongest traits, and perhaps why this one in particular stands out nicely in their strong discography. It could well be a new favourite of theirs.