It’s Karma It’s Cool: Woke Up In Hollywood

Woke Up In Hollywood is available for purchase from Kool Kat Musik. Album art by Mick Dillingham. It’s Karma It’s Cool are James Styring, Martyn Bewick, Mikey Barraclough, and Danny Krash.

“Woke Up In Hollywood” is the eagerly anticipated follow-up to It’s Karma It’s Cool’s inaugural EP, “Hipsters And Aereoplanes.” It includes both sides of their recent Big Stir Records Digital Single, “Wooden Buddha / Ghosts Of Rome,” previously reviewed on this site.

The album is graced with guest appearances by Rex Broome from The Armoires (12 string guitar on “Healer’s Leap”), Lannie Flowers (guitar on “The Girl Who Gave You Everything”), and Brian Barry from The Flaming Cortinas (harmonica on “Healer’s Leap”).

The opening track, “Our Love Is An Amplifier,” is a great representation of this band’s strengths…lively, guitar-driven pop, accented with what I believe is some woodblock percussion, great vocals, and…at the 2:19 mark…a fake ending! There’s a sweet solo guitar interlude before the song chugs back into full gear and a harmony-filled, energetic closing. “We are what we are tonight, hold tight”…indeed. A fantastic opener.

Pictured above: Jim Styring.

“Bubblegum Monsters” is a tuneful, light-hearted, harmony-filled pure pop outing that makes ample use of this band’s gift for wordplay.

The title track, “Woke Up In Hollywood,” is wonderfully bittersweet, with some twangy, Duane Eddy-ish guitar, and response vocals worthy of any of the best Brian Wilson compositions.

Lannie Flowers’ guitar super-charges “The Girl Who Gave You Everything,” and Rex Broome adds great depth and texture to “Healer’s Leap.” with a touchstone to the EP (“…as the hipsters scurry around…”), it’s like you’re eight miles high with both feet on the ground. The “la la las” and Brian Barry’s harmonica add a nice Beatlemania touch to another winning track.

“Battle Of Burnt Out Bliss” is a real surprise, opening with a moody electric guitar, with a building intensity, orchestral flourishes, some Flamenco guitar, proving that the band is not operating from a singular turf.

The closer, “Sunflowers,” is a perfect choice to bring the show to a close, with all of the strengths you’ve heard on the previous 11 tracks brought into full play, with a great guitar song, full and robust, as the song glides to a soft landing.

“Hipsters And Aeroplanes” raised the question “This is great, wonder what they’d do with a full album?” That question’s now been answered…It’s Karma It’s Cool has delivered a solid, tuneful, thoughtful and engaging work of art. Here’s to many more.