Kula Shaker

Strangefolk

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AllMusic Review by

Tommy Duncan once sang time changes everything but he never lived to hear Kula Shaker. The British quartet is impervious to time just as they are immune to criticism; they are what they are and nothing will change them, as their 2007 album Strange Folk proves. Ten years on from their briefly successful Noel-rock era debut K, the band sounds exactly the same -- an ungainly mix of early Deep Purple, Small Faces and Traffic spiced with a hint of Beatles, apparent in both swirling psychedelic hooks and George-ian mysticism. They are deeply, inadvertently silly -- "Great Dictator (Of the Free World)," a stab at anti-Bush criticism, is powered by the unforgettable chorus of "I'm a dick/I'm a dick/I'm a dictator" -- their jams are mushy and rudderless, and they never quite seem aware that their inability to resist clich├ęs turns their exceptional taste in '60s rock & roll into something terribly tacky, but their gangly grotesqueness is the key to their limited charm. It is hard not to listen to Kula Shaker and their banal, blissfully insulated retro-rock and not be a little amazed that a band can get so many right elements so wrong. If you share some of their taste, there are two options: to get offended or to enjoy their ongoing quest at public embarrassment as they prove the truth in what Neil Innes once sang: "How Sweet to Be an Idiot."

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