Monday, August 16, 2010

On my turntable: Kula Shaker - Pilgrim's Progress

Kula Shaker's fourth LP, Pilgrim's Progress (2010) is a mind-altering psychedelic folk-rock masterpiece. The album represents a slightly new direction for the band, injecting more acoustic and folk influences into some of the tracks.  Overall the record is Harrison-meets-Donovan-meets-XTC, and it's a really groovy trip. "Peter Pan R.I.P." opens the LP with an intense, almost spooky string arrangement followed by bells, drums, percussion, and various swirling sounds.  Of the album's 13 tracks, "Modern Blues" does best at achieving the more "vintage" Kula Shaker style, which is very upbeat and sonically spectacular. My favorite song on the album by far is the simple acoustic ballad "Ruby" which consistently captures me with its acrobatic use of melody and its subtle lyrical reminders of Crispian Mills' life as a dedicated Krishna devotee ("Beware of Maya, don't let her get you down...My love is like a simple prayer.").

Pilgrim's Progress could easily be my favorite album of the year.  The vinyl edition is rather bare-bones, with a plain white inner sleeve & different custom labels for sides A & B. The disc sounds beautiful, and from what I can tell it is a fully independent pressing for the band's own Strange F.O.L.K. Records label.  I ordered this copy through, which is one of the best online stores for new import 7" vinyl, and also a good place to check for non-domestic LPs. This LP was much more expensive at some of the other sites I looked at. 

Check out the video below for "Peter Pan R.I.P.", which does a terrific job at capturing the mood of the song itself (in my humble opinion).


ChuckO said...

my next record!

360Sound said...

I lost track after the first one; I need to catch up after this glowing recommendation..