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Kula Shaker

These days, as anyone who has seen them in the flesh could tell you, Kula Shaker’s live shows are less like gigs than bona-fide happenings… communal gatherings of like-minded souls where the bilateral flow of positive energy feels powerful enough to levitate the Royal Albert Hall.

Named after a 10th century south-Indian King, Kula Shaker first carried their royal flag of retro freakery and spiritual sonics to the toppermost of the poppermost during the heady days of Britpop, with songs like ‘Tattva’ and ‘Hush’ from the multi-platinum selling album ‘K’. Fast forward to the present day and 2024 sees the band ride out once again, mystical-machine-guns-a-blazing, with the release of ‘NATURAL MAGICK’ —  their brand new 7th studio album.

‘NATURAL MAGICK’ finds the original 4 members casting their most powerful spell yet with a mesmeric 13-track incantation of blazing psychedelic sermons, stardust-coated pop pearls and mood-enhancing mantras — delivering their renewed wild energy that we know and love. There is kinetic energy coursing through every second of ‘NATURAL MAGICK’ planted firmly in the rolling 24- hour news-feed mind-mash that is today’s Planet Earth.

The new album heralds the return of keyboard wizard Jay Darlington from a decade with Oasis and various Gallaghers, therefore reuniting all four members of the band’s classic line-up (Crispian Mills:  guitar/vocals; Jay Darlington: Hammond organ/keys; Alonza Bevan: bass; Paul Winter-Hart: drums).

Their first single, the pulsating WAVES — a hymn to the communal euphoria of their never-better live shows — was written on the drive home after a triumphant gig in Manchester, and further touring through January and February led to more recording.

As shown by the recent slew of the band’s Mills-directed music videos, maintaining a sense of humour in the face of such provocation has been part of Kula Shaker’s armoury since the release of (pun)tastic debut hit ‘GRATEFUL WHEN YOU’RE DEAD/JERRY WAS THERE’ back in 1996. But then, what else would you expect from a group who named themselves after a ninth-century mystic and breached the top 5 twice in the same year with ‘HEY DUDE’ and ‘TATTVA’, a song written in Sanskrit, only to be followed by another, the majestic global message of ‘GOVINDA’. The band became UK album chart-toppers with 1996’s imperious debut album ‘K’ and 1999’s follow-up ‘Peasants Pigs & Astronauts’ saw them push the creative envelope prior to their premature dissolution the same year.  

Having made a welcome return in 2007 with the self-funded ‘Strangefolk’, Kula Shaker have slowly and surely built towards the sonic summit, via 2010’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’, 2016’s ‘K 2.0’ and last 2 year’s ‘1st Congregational Church Of Eternal Love And Free Hugs’. Now there is the excitement of ‘NATURAL MAGICK’ coming after the shortest gap, not just between Kula Shaker albums, but of any since the golden era of the music biz, when two albums per year was the expected normal.

It is all part of the ever-evolving Kula Shaker gospel which has both entertained and inspired listeners with songs like ‘Govinda’.