Kula Shaker: K 2.0 (Strange Folk) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, September 27th, 2020  

Kula Shaker

K 2.0

Strange Folk

Mar 10, 2016 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Kula Shaker emerged in 1996 as both immensely popular and hugely disparaged. The British group's inclusion of Eastern sonics and mystic vibe set it apart from its Britpop contemporaries, as well as providing an unshakeable identifier to its creations. That element is still there, 20 years later on Kula Shaker's fifth album, K 2.0. K 2.0's title sounds like it might be a re-mastered-plus-bonus-tracks version of their debut, K, but is, in fact, billed as a "companion piece" to that two-decade old great work.

The reverberating sitars that kick off K 2.0 signal that it's business as usual chez Kula Shaker. The psychedelic flames are fanned by these Hindu sounds, but not in the same contagious way they are on Kula Shaker's signature breakout numbers: "Tattva" and "Govinda." The 2.0 version shows itself best on opener "Infinite Sun," which, while generating some tingles, also has moments where it feels like the group is parodying itself. The mysticism goes next level on the gentle chants of "Hari Bol (The Sweetest Sweet)." The message in the obviously titled "Here Come My Demons" is delivered in a tidy package of spare instrumentation and carefully spaced vocal delivery. While "Get Right Get Ready" is a straight up classic rock tune. There are a few odd turns on K 2.0 where the Wild West enters such as on the rollicking cowboy anthem, "Death of Democracy." Then there's the country-folk twist on "33 Crows" and the east-meets-west echoes of "High Noon."

At times it felt that Kula Shaker's Hindu/sitar/mystic thing was more of a gimmick than a genuine belief. Even so, and all this time later, it serves as a welcome reference that connects the listener to the past. (www.kulashaker.co.uk)

Author rating: 5/10

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