It’s Karma It’s Cool: Wooden Buddha

“Wooden Buddha” / “Ghosts of Rome” is the new Big Stir Digital Single from It’s Karma It’s Cool. It will be released on December 20, 2019, and can be pre-ordered from the Big Stir Website.

Both songs are written by Mikey Barraclough and James Styring, with all lyrics by James.

“Wooden Buddha” is rich with the same deft wordplay that James employed on this year’s EP “Hipsters and Areoplanes.” It has a Brit Pop vibe with a little Bowie / Bolan whimsy on top.“We are the satellites to guide each other home now, Kismet on vacation…” According to the Big Stir website, the song is about “living in the moment – Eeverything is there for the taking, go out and grab it, tomorrow may be too late…”

A key element of James’ lyrics is that when he tackles “deep” subjects, he does so with a “light” touch…always optimistic, always seeking, never satisfied with things remaining the same but also never dissatisfied with the present moment. Carpe Diem, Baby…

“Ghosts of Rome” is fascinating musically, as the melody of the verses mirrors The Beach Boys’ “Little Deuce Coupe” ( ! ), while veering in and out of bouncy Beatlesque Harrison / Badfinger vibes in the rest of the song.

“500,000 party people…serve ’em hot beans, in the pot…And the radio waves, make the sun come shine today…”

The song was inspired by a BBC documentary about the original Woodstock festival. You’ve heard the standard Woodstock joke 100 times…“If you REMEMBER it, you weren’t actually THERE…” It’s this half-century of real and imagined memories of the mythical status of 3 days on Max Yasgur’s farm that makes a perfect source of inspiration for James. Peace, love, rain, mud, bad brown acid…and a cultural event that stands on a hill all its own in the history books.

You can’t wear out these songs on the first listen. As with “Hipsters,” you’ll hear a snippet of lyric that is so clever and unexpected that you’ll go back to hear it again, and it’s James’ masterful technique of seamlessly blending “reality” as we know it with his own personalized views. The music is tight and tuneful to be sure, but what sets It’s Karma It’s Cool apart is the ability to craft these seemingly innocent pop songs that have the same mix of complexity and metaphor found in the Beatles “Sgt. Pepper / Magical Mystery Tour” era.

We’ve had an EP, we now have a single, and it will be intriguing to see what the band does with a full-length album.