London’s 60’s revivalists, Kula Shaker, are set to release K2.0, their first album in almost 6 years on 12th February. The album title seems to be a play on 1996’s K 20 years on, but is the album set to be a celebration of that career or something new?
Opening with a sitar, indian rhythm and droning vocals “We are one, the infinite sun, fly like an eagle” on Infinite Sun, it’s immediately obvious that you’re listening to Kula Shaker. The track is instantaneously infectious, wonderfully psychedelic and has a familiar feel (perhaps due to it’s similarity to Strangefolk’s Song of Love/Narayana). Following this is Holy Flame, the verse of which is reminiscent of Blur’s Coffee & TV but with a soaring and upbeat piano-rock chorus. The more closely you listen, the more upbeat 90’s Brit-pop styling you can hear flowing through out K2.0. There’s even a little bit of the noughts in there with a Zutons-esque vocal lurking in Let Love B (With You).
As expected, the lyrics are often abstract, but also observational and witty. A great example of the latter is country ditty, 33 Crows which brings forth a wry smile from the outset. It is a satyrical story which looks at a past relationship where an omen “33 crows in the middle of the road, that’s when my heart said no” convinces the narrator not to move in with their partner. The line “you might end up with no-one to call a friend, unless they are canine, or equine” had me chuckling to myself which, in public wearing headphones necessitated a prompt but unsuccessful attempt to hide behind my notebook to avoid bemused looks!
There’s little to dislike about the album, the only thing for me was a cliché stab at Christianity in Oh Mary and the random hippy sound-bites (which sound a lot like Billy Connolly minus a few F words). As we’re talking about a 60’s revival act here I guess that clichés may be somewhat irrelevant but talking about not being able to make it to space on a bus or space-rocket but going there in your mind is abstract at best!
Going back to that long stretch since 2010’s Pilgrim’s Progress, it’s obvious that long periods between albums is nothing new to Crispian and Co. as this is only their 5th LP in their 20 year career. Fortunately, this method yields quality over quantity yet again. Kula Shaker have done what they do best with K2.0 and produced an infinitely likeable collection of upbeat and happy psychedelic Brit-pop numbers. It’s a good egg but whether this will fly among the droves of 90’s act comeback albums it’s hard to tell however, I reckon K2.0 stands as good a chance as any I’ve heard of late.