Sundara Karma
Youth Is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect


4.0
excellent

Review

by Final Origin USER (41 Reviews)
January 6th, 2017 | 23 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Progression and potential is the prospect on Sundara Karma's debut LP.

With current artists dominating the mainstream with an 80's endorsed style, like The 1975's "too long to pronounce album title/can't be arsed" second album, it is actually quite refreshing to hear a band like Sundara Karma still emerging with their straight forward indie guitar hooks and anthemic choruses. The band, based in Reading, England, have been around for seven years and have put out a few EPs and standalone singles; they have been dubbed 'a band in waiting' by various music outlets and finally made the vital step in releasing their first full length, Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect (nearly as guilty for the long title as The 1975). It seems that the patience has paid off for the band, releasing an album full of high points and rip roaring confidence.

The opener, "A Young Understanding", immediately showcases what the band is about; catchy guitar hooks, simple but effective drum work and very solid, soaring vocal performances by the charismatic Oscar Lulu. His influence on the album is notable, especially when it comes to the themes of certain tracks such as "Loveblood" which is one of the highlights of the album. Oscar Lulu recently talked about how literacy is a key significance to the writing of some tracks. With his passion for the works of Shakespeare, the tale of 'Romeo and Juliet' and its exploration of romance and tragedy becomes reimagined on "Loveblood", portrayed through lyrics such as "One last kiss and away she goes/Obsessed with loveblood and yet no one knows' being sung on top of towering guitar melodies, crashing cymbals and twinkling keys.

The anthems are plentiful and energetic on YIOEFIR, with tracks like "Olympia" which has a hypnotising, looping guitar line on the verses before it explodes on the chorus, and one of the lead singles "Flame", with its Madchester-style atmosphere emulating the licks from The Stone Roses but taken into a more modern and daring production. The majority of the upbeat tracks are very similar to what 'Kings of Leon' tried to attempt on their most recent album "WALLS", but Sundara Karma seem to perform with more vigour and quite simply, with more precision and tenacity. There are also a healthy mix of slower tempoed tracks too. "Happy Family" is a nice switch and well sandwiched between two raucous songs on the tracklist, with its bouncing finger-picked guitar melodies and percussion, and "Be Nobody" has a slow climactic build and a Springsteen-esque performance which is a welcome change in dynamic.

The album can feel rather safe at times and too familiar, such as "Lose the Feeling" and "Watching from Great Heights" where the band tend to draw on the same formula used in their other tracks so the tracks do not really serve a special purpose other than to fill the tracklist. Also the first half of the album is much more immediate and has a robust and forceful impact with its hard hitting anthems and strong performances, but YIOEFIR does lose steam towards the latter half. Sundara Karma maybe looking at the themes of youth and romance only being fun in retrospect; but their debut album proves in prospect an intriguing progression of what what the band is capable of doing next.



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user ratings (28)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Final Origin
January 6th 2017


785 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Here is my once in a blue moon review, felt an impulse to review a new album that has just come out.

Dewinged
January 6th 2017


2848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Was a bit put off by the singles but will give it another shot.

Digging: Adna - Closure

Final Origin
January 6th 2017


785 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If you were put off the singles, you probably won't like the rest tbh, but yeah give it a try if you wish.

runaways
January 6th 2017


373 Comments


pos just for the 1975 references

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
January 6th 2017


15409 Comments


i just listened to some of this yesterday, was not diggin it unfortunately.

Digging: Stolas - Stolas

Evenoss
January 6th 2017


188 Comments


It's alright.

'Loveblood' is good.

Final Origin
January 6th 2017


785 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I am a bit of a sucker for simple, catchy indie stuff sometimes. This hit my radar recently and I liked it. I can see how it does nothing for some though, it ain't the most adventurous thing out but it I think it does a great job for what it is.



Huge thanks for the feature also!

heyadam
January 6th 2017


1902 Comments


Just listened to the singles after reading this and I dug them. I'll check out the record -- nice review.

Digging: Chicano Batman - Freedom Is Free

Sabrutin
January 7th 2017


4093 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I think a 4 may be a little higher than what the review suggests but w/e, pos. Listening now and I'm liking it, it's more rock than I expected. Starts pretty strongly

Final Origin
January 7th 2017


785 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If I had to make it a more focused rating, i'd give it a 3.8. I think for a debut LP, it is impressive and just does enough to have some variety and excellent moments.

Sabrutin
January 7th 2017


4093 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Happy Family gives me JEW vibes. Cool album to start 2017 with

wwf
January 7th 2017


4607 Comments


what a bad album title

Digging: A Bunny's Caravan - Draining Puddles, Retrieving Treasures

JakeStallion
January 8th 2017


454 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

First album listened to in 2017 and definitely a solid one to kick the year off with. Really fun stuff here. Nice review!

DoubtGin
January 8th 2017


6850 Comments


Loveblood reminds me of Keep the Car Running.



Pangea
January 9th 2017


2563 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

excellent review. i might check this

Digging: Julie Byrne - Not Even Happiness

TwigTW
January 9th 2017


2304 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is fun, but I agree with "The album can feel rather safe at times and too familiar."

Digging: Causa Sui - Live in Copenhagen

BeyondCosby
January 9th 2017


1355 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Seems like a Killers, Gaslight Anthem knock-off band.

Dewinged
January 9th 2017


2848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Tbh this got a bit better with subsequent listens. Forgot to say, good review man, pos.

Final Origin
January 10th 2017


785 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers for the pos fellas! I can see that the album is pretty divided in terms of opinion, due to its bit of unoriginality. Even though it is a bit predictable, I still find the album incredibly fun to listen to.

Sabrutin
January 12th 2017


4093 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

A good slice of pop rock, my favorite tracks are A Young Understanding, Flame and especially Happy Family. I feel the album is heavily carried by Happy Family, it's what made me stick with it and give it more chances.



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