Kula Shaker - K2.0 - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Kula Shaker - K2.0

by Mark Steele Rating:8 Release Date:2016-02-12

It was 1996, and the Britpop movement had within it a cross-section of musical influences from 1960s to 1980s. There were many bands who spoke about the issues of everyday life and seemed to be a voice for a whole generation of disenfranchised youth. Yet further among the crowd was Kula Shaker, who brought their own spin on the times, infusing 1960s psychedelia and blues-rock with Krishna Consciousness rhetoric on their debut album, K.

Twenty years since K incarnated within the British music scene, and five years since last album Pilgrim’s Progress, the time was right to release another album, recorded in both the UK and Belgium. The group, featuring visionary frontman Crispian Mills (vocals/guitar), Alonza Bevan (bass), Harry Broadbent (keys), and Paul Winterhart (drums), have once again received an opportunity to impart philosophical ponderings into the public socialsphere. Kula Shaker have seen it fit to put The Vedic Goddess of knowledge, Music, Arts and Learning - Saraswati - on the ornately drawn album cover. Each song even has it’s own intricate artwork, which deserves credit alone. The album leads off with ‘Infinite Sun’, the Indian influence is still apparent in the intro, which then moves into a fresh yet familiar delivery of witty lyrics and a strong fuzz guitar/keys hook. A memorable antimetabole here is “She changes everything she touches and everything she touches changes…” Early 1970’s rock stylings are felt on the short ‘Holy Flame’, allowing guitars/bass/drums to shift back and forth with dynamics. The verse comes across like Alternative Rock meets Blur’s ‘Coffee and TV’ due to the acoustic rhythm strumming. The quirky country ‘Death Of Democracy’ should appeal to Johnny Cash and The Coral fans instantly with similar melodies and a wagons- keep-on-rolling old western film orchestration. The eerie choir harmonies included, make it a further compelling listen. A Skippy piano bass motif on ‘Let Love B (With U)’ accompanied by hand claps, smooth vocals, and a latin jazzy cool feel, Real self-confessional going on with ‘Here Comes My Demons’ expressed as “There’s a voice in your head/saying you’re better off dead/you’ve got no reason to get out of bed”. This tune has a great Mid-1970’s Thin Lizzy-esque classic rock section complete with guitar solo. A short driving account on the acoustic ‘33 Crows’ has folky connotations, full of humour and splashes of sitar. Following a quick layman’s philosophical quote sample, ‘Oh Mary’ which could be an inference to the Roman Catholic church. Crispian’s vocal tone in parts has a slight Roger McGuinn southern drawl which saddles well over a cool melodic guitar with soulful bass and drums. Shimmering guitars in the vintage country vibe on ‘High Noon’ harks back to Ennio Morricone's spaghetti western soundtracks. Mystical mantra ‘Hari Bol (The Sweetest Sweet)’ - a play on Haribo - is accompanied by flowing acoustic guitar. When both ‘Get Right, Get Ready’ and finale ‘Mountain Lifter’ is heard, Some of us who are longer in the tooth, should be able to recall the early days of the band. It is then fair to say that even though there are varied expressions and energies in the songs, the magic is still ever present.

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