Originally Posted by ToeAndno
If a group of people were to start reeling off names of British bands that had hits in the mid-nineties, it would probably be a while before Kula Shaker got a mention, if at all. However, the four piece band fronted by Crispian Mills (son of actress Hayley Mills) released K in 1996 and it became the fastest selling debut album in Britain since Oasis. Despite it’s acheivement a decade later it has become a hidden gem of the ‘Brit-pop’ movement.
A mixture of rock and Indian influences bring about a very interesting album and one that should be more well known and appreciated than it sadly is today. Clear influences are felt throughout, especially from The Beatles’ later work and The Greatful Dead. Mills’ vocals are nothing amazing but they are good throughout and have their really good moments. The band are also well adept, especially using some great guitar riffs and melodies, at times sounding almost like a Jimmi Hendrix tribute act but in a good way. This is a very enjoyable album, and whilst not the first time to mix popular music with an Eastern flavour, it certainly does it in a way that really works.
Hey Dude- A fine intro, the drums and guitar kick off and show how the ‘rockin’ side of this album will feel. A very catchy song with interesting lyrics, great guitar work and one of the rare songs where I like the verses more than the chorus.
Knight On The Town- Guitars once again lead this song, the main riff opens the tune and slight Indian tones are felt for the first time in this album as well as a prog-rock feel as the track goes on.
Temple Of Everlasting Light-A more trippy and Indian song next. I don’t like the first half of this but once it builds up and the extra voices kick in then I am fully there even when it mellows back and resumes its semi-trippy vibe.
Govinda-This is where we get into full traditional Indian music mode. A surprise hit back in the day, it is the only top ten hit in Britain to be sung entirely in Sanskrit. however, it is very catchy and it certainly rocks out in the second half. This song shows how two styles of music can mix and still be brilliant, the guitars go so well with the beat and the tamboura etc and the public embraced it, even if they didnt know what they were singing.
Smart Dogs-We’re back with rock, though the vocal melody retains the Indian vibe. Yet another great guitar riff as it whails its way through the track, lyrically it is weak but this song is more about fun than meaningful messages.
Magic Theatre-A more mellow track follows. Some people will like this, but i don’t really care for it much. I feel it is not only in the wrong place, but it spoils the mood that has been set up by the previous tracks.
Into The Deep-Probably my favourite track on the album. I love the piano intro, love the middle eight, love everything about the track.
Sleeping Jiva-This is a purely instrumental tune, purely made up of traditional Indian instruments. It’s kind of ok but not really my thing, its more of a lead up to the next song but feels slightly too long for it’s purpose.
Tattva-Another hit here in the UK, this time with English lyrics in the verses. Slightly less catchy than Govinda, but still a really good song.
Grateful When You’re Dead/Jerry Was There-A clear reference to one of this album’s greatest influences. Another great guitar riff leads the song in, good lyrics, a strong vocal perfomance and a catchy ‘Ba ba baaaaa, ba ba baaaa’ in the chorus. This is another fun song. Unfortunately, the second half, a tribute to Jerry Garcia fro the Greatful Dead, is the opposite. It is another slow, trippy track that just plods it way to the end. Nothing exciting here, which is a shame as the first part of this combo is great.
303-Here we have some very cheesy and cliche lyrics and yet the song is catchy, fun and full of energy and life. This song is nothing amazing, but when it comes on it’s hardly one to skip. Enjoy it for what it is, don’t spend time thinking about the words, especially if you do not like them. Great guitar work throughout though and a very good peformance on the vocals.
Start All Over-I really like this track, it must be a bit understated as I always forget about it until it plays. Good lyrics, good performance by the band. There’s something missing that prevents it being a great song, but not all dongs need to be great. The song is perfectly placed in the running lost, fits fantastically with the feel and mood that the album bathes itself in.
Hollow Man-We close with a slow intro, piano based. This is a lovely gentle two and a half minutes which leads into the songs acoustic guitar and vocals. After a simple song the electric guitars make their final appearance on the album, bringing it to a rocking end, not as catchy as the better songs but still pretty good.
There is a thirteen minute silence followed by a brief recording of a holy man speaking about his guru…..not worth the wait.