Sound — 8
After a lengthy hiatus Kula Shaker have followed in the footsteps of the other 90s revival bands resurging at the moment, and are forcing their way back into the public eye with the help of new album Strangefolk. Instead of looking towards the future though, Kula Shaker appear to have been rifling through their record collections for inspiration and as such have produced a retro-tinged album giving cheeky winks and sly nods towards some of the prominent artists of previous decades. Although direct comparisons are far from the case, the influences are obvious and can be identified easily.
Lyrics — 9
The 70s garage punk rock Americana of The Clash ilk seeps through on album closer 'Super CB Operator' and the pop harmonies 'Fool That I am'. Moving forward through the musical timeline, some Jagger-style impressions come through on the interesting word play in 'Great Dictator (Of The Free World)'. The resonating keys and acoustic guitar of slowy 'Ol' Jack Tar' almost feels like a late era Beatles track, the semi-glam rock riffing of 'Second Sight', employing a cross guitar/stylaphone sound, hints at Spinal Tap style hair-rock and 'Out On The Highway''s rough guitars and dark whirs intimate an expansive U2 sound. The Indian influences of the old Kula Shaker sound feature briefly on 'Song Of Love/Narayana', but it would seem the band now have their fingers in other inspirational pies. A social conscience is explored on the war protests of 'Die For Love' "don't wanna be wrapped up in a flag, or spill my blood on the sand/ don't wanna die for a pack of lies" and 'Great Dictator'. Seaside sound effects can be found on 'Hurricane Season', a spot of Francais on 'Super CB Operator' and bizarre computerised spoken word story telling appears on the album's title track.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, there are some decent songs on this album 'Dr. Kitt', 'Shadowlands' and 'Out On The Highway' that enable it to stand up on it's own as a body of work, minus the help of the various and numerous influences that are fallen back on. The exploration of these older influences is enjoyable throughout, but there is nothing as groundbreaking or forwardthinking as the Kula Shaker of old once promised. However, Kula Shaker still manage to deliver an enjoyable, if not essential, retro-sprinkled, slightly odd, but equally interesting, album.