It’s no secret that Kula Shaker toned their sound down after their return to music in 2007. While their first two albums were heavily draped with Indian influences, both Strangefolk and Pilgrims Progress opted for something more friendly to the masses, yet retaining some of their spirit in some key moments. K 2.0, however, is something of a return to form: Fittingly titled to follow the style of their 1996 debut album K, the Indian influence has found its way back, and so have Kula Shaker.
The heavy Indian influence on K 2.0 sits comfortably on top of its base of rock and folk music. While songs like the introductory Infinite Sun completely cover themselves with the sound of sitars and ethnic percussion, there’s an equal number of tracks that carry none of these at all. The fusion of styles is handled expertly, only rarely feeling out of place, and recalling the energy and quality of Kula Shaker’s earlier efforts. The infectious Britpop of Love B (with U) smartly relies on its riffs and looping melodies to hook listeners and Death of Democracy uses its bouncy structure to cover a more serious subject matter while retaining the catchy sound, but the likes of 33 Crows and Hari Bol mix folk and the trademark Indian flavour together to truly sell their arrangements.
Only in its final moments does the album begin to wear thin, with Get Right Get Ready and Mountain Lifter falling short of what came before; the latter ends up working better when taken in isolation, but Get Right Get Ready never really finds its groove in the first place. It makes for a slightly disappointing closing note for the album, but the strength of the preceding songs largely makes up for their weakness thanks to the different fusions of styles that appear throughout, and the album remains enjoyable regardless.
On a complete scale, K 2.0 is clearly a return to Kula Shaker’s stronger days. While its energy and content falls slightly short in comparison to K, it’s head and shoulders above the material following their comeback, and promises a far better phase of their career. The Indian influences makes their music something much more unique, and it seems they’ve realized as much, meaning fans of classic Kula Shaker are sure to love K 2.0.