Kula Shaker – K (1996/2011/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 49:20 minutes | 1,05 GB | Genre: Alternative, Indie
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd
Kula Shaker are an English Psychedelic Rock band. Led by frontman Crispian Mills, the band came to prominence during the Post-Britpop era of the late 1990s. “K” is the band’s debut album. When it was released, it became the fastest selling debut album in Britain since Elastica’s debut the previous year. The album reached the #1 position in the UK charts, however in America it stalled at #200 in the Billboard charts. The Grateful Dead’s Psychedelic Rock style is an influence on Kula Shaker’s first and second albums.
Kula Shaker take their name from a 9th-century Indian King, and their debut album, K further reveals their obsession with Eastern mysticism: the band sing in Sanskrit on “Tattva” and “Govinda” is based on an ancient Indian chant. On the strength of these and other hit singles, the band were voted Best Newcomers at the 1996 BRIT Awards and K went into the album charts at Number One–the fastest selling debut since Oasis’ Definitely Maybe. A mixture of classic rock and 60’s psychedelia, Kula Shaker were treated with critical derision that seemed to counteract their chart success. But the blend of East and West obviously struck a chord with the public, making this an interesting and exciting debut.
By the mid-’90s, most bands had abandoned the sounds and sensibilities of late-’60s psychedelia, which is what makes Kula Shaker’s debut album, K, such a weird, bracing listen. The band doesn’t simply revive the swirling guitar and organ riffs of psychedelia, it embraces the mysticism and Eastern spirituality that informed the music. On both “Tattva” and “Govinda,” lead singer Crispian Mills has adapted portions of Sanskrit text for the lyrics, chanting Indian mantras without a hint of embarrassment. Similarly, Kula Shaker are unashamed about their devotion to Hendrix, Traffic, and the Beatles, cutting their traditionalist tendencies with an onslaught of volume, overdriven guitars, and catchy melodies – though they have a song called “Grateful When You’re Dead,” all of their psychedelic sensibilities derive from British rock, not the more experimental American counterpart. Kula Shaker may play well – they have a powerful rush that makes you temporarily forget how classicist their music actually is – but they still have trouble coming up with hooks. About half the record (“Hey Dude,” “Tattva,” “Govinda,” “Grateful When You’re Dead”) has strong melodies, while the rest just rides by on the band’s instrumental skills. Consequently, much of K doesn’t stick around once the record is finished, but the singles remain excellent blasts of colorful neo-psychedelia.
01 – Hey Dude
02 – Knight On The Town
03 – Temple Of Everlasting Light
04 – Govinda
05 – Smart Dogs
06 – Magic Theatre
07 – Into The Deep
08 – Sleeping Jiva
09 – Tattva
10 – Grateful When You’re Dead / Jerry Was There
11 – 303
12 – Start All Over
13 – Hollow Man (Parts 1 & 2)
Crispian Mills – Singing, Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Tamboura.
Alonza Bevan – Bass, Piano, Tabla, Backing Vocals
Paul Winterhart – Drums
Jay Darlington – Organ, Mellotron, Piano.
Wajahat Kahn – sarod (on “Sleeping Jiva”)
Himangsu Goswami – tabla (on “Govinda” and “Jerry Was There”)
Gauri – backing vocals (on “Govinda”)
The Kick Horns – horns (on “Start All Over”)