Friday, June 01, 2007

FDF Volume 1: Issue 56: Kula Shaker - K

Album - K
Artist - Kula Shaker
Key Players - Paul Winterhart -drums, Jay Darlington - organ,mellatron, piano, Alonza Bevan - bass, piano, tabla, backing vocals, Crispian Mills - lead vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, tamboura
Produced By - John Leckie

Release Date - September 16, 1996

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- been meaning to do this record for some time now and it just jumped out this week.

Overview - After winning a song writing contest Kula Shaker was quickly singed to a major label. The result was "K" which, at the time, became the quickest selling debut album in the UK since Oasis' Definitely Maybe

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - "Hey Dude" opens with a clacking wah wah guitar line and a strong swooping bass line. The drums march along and it stops for a second, then the band takes off. The bass line is really strong and up in the mix. "Knight on the Town" follows and is another rocking track. The piano is brought up more in the mix but the bass work and guitar shine on the track. "Temple of Everlasting Light" more acoustic based at the start but has a quick "middle eastern" feel by the time the first words are sung. By the end of the first verse the band comes up full and its a little more rocking than the starting point. "Govinda" starts with the sounds of a jungle then it slowly fades up with tabla. The song has hardly a word sung in English, barring that its one of the most sing along songs on the record. The guitar work after the second verse is just enough but the bass and drums are really the key on this track. "Smart Dogs" keeps the "heavy" side of Kula Shaker moving. The piano is replaced by organ and the band chugs along on this track. By this point the band has gone from 3 minute tracks to 6 minute tracks and back again. "Magic Theatre" is another track under three minutes long. It a very dark and moody track and really feels out of place, at this point of the record, if not the whole thing. Its a throwaway track that is really not all that interesting. The track fades right up to "Into The Deep" and when one listens you'd almost think its a cast off of a track from the La's. Dunno, that is what I get when I re listen. Clocking in at 2:02 "Sleeping Jiva" follows. Its more an intro to the heavily Indian influenced Tattva". This was one of the singles that came to American radio. Mills chants as the track begins and the guitars wash over your head. Its a catchy song. "Grateful When You're Dead/Jerry Was There" despite the song title the band was paying homage to the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia. The psychedelic sounds through this record are an obvious nod to the band. The track opens with wah wah guitar and the drum and bass breakdowns (once again) are key to this track. "303" has a strong organ lead but the guitar work again shines, punchy yet somehow smooth at the same time. The bass work on all the tracks has been a great backbone, swooping low and melodically along a path carved out for itself. A single guitar part begins "Start All Over" and its not a bad track. "Hollow Man Parts 1 & 2" close out the record. Piano brings up the track and the track is largely instrumental for the "first part". A strong opening and then Mills comes in with hushed vocals. The track goes on and you feel like you might have been here before (Stone Roses perhaps?). After a bit more the band crashes in and the track gets a little more rocking thus ending on a high note.

Where are they now? - The band broke up for a short time after a second major label release. The band went on to various musical projects with limited success. In January of 2006 the band announced they had re-formed but Jay Darlington was not back with the band. He joined Oasis as a touring keyboard player. Harry Broadbent is now the current keyboard player. In April of 2007 the band announced the new cd was complete and it would see a June release in Japan. The rest of the world will have to wait to see if the wait was worth it.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- Only saw the band one time on Aug 8, 1997. They were one of the bands on the second stage as part of the H.O.R.D.E. Festival. The band was truncated to a 30 minute set but pulled no punches. On a sour note Crispian Mills was a flat out douche when I approached him for a signature of my cd. It was him, nobody around and I said "excuse me would you mind signing my cd?" His response "Sorry I don't speak English" and he walked off. Fuck you too mate.

FDF Overall Take
- Barring a non favorable "meet up" with the bands lead singer the over all sound of "K" was refreshing at the time. This was 1997 remember? There are hints of Stone Roses, late Beatles, Grateful Dead as well as a slew of international music. Listening now it sounds a little "soup and nuts" but overall it captures the UK sound from that time. Still worthy of a spin now and again.

Myspace page
Official Band Page

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

******MP3's HAVE BEEN REMOVED August 2, 2007 5pm ET*************
Temple of Everlasting Light

Its just the one track this week because any of the others I'd suggest you can get as part of the live show a little further down.

It seems like if you want to find your copy "new" you may be out of luck. It might be a cut out at the moment. I checked just a few sites for "new" copies and came up with no luck. You can buy K used (for under $2.00 no less)

This weeks BONUS download

Kula Shaker
Aston Villa Leisure Center,
Birmingham England
February 27, 1997

This has been removed...

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 11:11 AM, Blogger The Guinness Tooth said...

I've been telling myself for over a year that I would like to submit a review to FDF, and every time I contemplate the idea this is one of the albums I put at the top of my list. They're a talented bunch of guys, it's too bad they got runoff due to their desire to use swastikas as part of their stage show. They probably should have known better than to think the public would look past their recent nazi past into their more appropriate mystical distant past. But, like you said, they could have just been a bunch of major D-bags.

At 12:28 PM, Blogger March to the Sea said...

i decided to not cover that part of their history. I didn't want to get in to how it was a very old symbol etc. I just didn't want to get labeled one way or the other. As a side note i think they wanted to use it as the "mystical" least I hope they did. Its a fun/strong record and it had been quite some time since i had spun it.

At 3:32 AM, Blogger Greg said...

"Tattva" brings back some pretty fierce memories... what a great album. I seem to remember there being a weird hidden track on this one. Maybe just my copy?

At 10:01 AM, Blogger March to the Sea said...

greg - indeed there is. its something like 13 minutes after the last track..its just a chant though.


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