In 2022, Kula Shaker unveiled their most ambitious and thematic album, 1st Congregational Church of Eternal Love and Free Hugs. Following the album's release, the band reunited with their original lineup, welcoming organist Jay Darlington back after a two-decade hiatus. This reunion sparked the creation of a new masterpiece, Natural Magick.
Diverging from the unifying theme of their previous album, Natural Magick bursts forth with relentless passion and unwavering energy—no room for filler. Despite the infectious pop catchiness, this LP boasts an impressive length, with nine out of its 13 songs surpassing the three-minute mark, offering listeners an extended and enjoyable experience.
The album starts with the captivating "Gaslighting," featuring dual vocals by Crispian Mills and Alonza Bevan. The song cleverly reimagines Gil Scott-Heron's 1971 classic 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,' injecting modern relevance with lyrics like "The revolution will not be live-streamed across all social media platforms / You will receive no notifications, only dehypnotisations, revelations and realisations." Jay Darlington's organ playing adds an infectious layer to the track.
Following the opener, a cascade of catchy rock and pop hits ensues, including the first single released in over two decades with Darlington, the exhilarating "Waves." The funk-infused title track "Natural Magick" showcases Kula Shaker's innovative spirit, evolving from "Get Right Get Ready" on their 2016 album K2.0. The second single, 'Indian Record Player,' pays homage to Bollywood icons R.D. Burman and Asha Parekh.
Throughout Natural Magick, Kula Shaker skillfully attempts to blend Country music with Indian mysticism. The initial endeavour, "Chura Liya" (translating to "You stole my heart"), sees the country elements taking centre stage in the latter half of the LP. "Whistle And I Will Come" builds upon themes from previous albums, introducing elements reminiscent of the sophomore The Jeevas LP "Cowboys and Indians."
Two standout tracks, "IDONTWANNAPAYMYTAXES" and "F-Bombs," harmonise seamlessly. The former, a powerful anti-war anthem with a renewed sense of urgency, is complemented by the latter—a humorous and spirited continuation. These songs add a dynamic spark when played consecutively, especially in live performances.
Natural Magick concludes with an emotional and poignant finale in "Give Me Tomorrow." This track fuses early Dusty Springfield charisma with subtle country influences, leaving listeners with the uplifting message, "Let love be your sunshine." While not pushing the boundaries like their previous effort, Natural Magick is more than a nostalgic reunion; it's a genuine fusion of unified energy. The result is an uninterrupted entertainment journey, occasionally punctuated with insightful social commentary to keep the audience engaged.