Album Review: Sundara Karma – Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect

There’s always an excitement when a band gains a big following before even releasing an album, we’ve seen it recently with Blossoms, but there’s also an added pressure to deliver. Reading’s Sundara Karma released their debut album today.

Speaking candidly, let’s not mark them as trailblazers, neither are they completely the same as what we can listen to at the minute, but their first LP delivers nothing we’re unaccustomed too. Assertive guitar, big drums, the beginning of the album feels large by scale. Especially opening track, ‘A Young Understanding’ which sounds a little like The Vaccines and The Maccabees. ‘Happy Family’ is the longest track, and it unfolds nicely after a gentle start.

There are elements of new age indie, The 1975 seem to have inspired ‘Flame’, they retain their own sound partially, though. ‘Lose The Feeling’ is nice dynamically, before the highlight of the album, perhaps inevitably, ‘She Said’, which epitomises that youthfulness they seem to regard as less than fun in the moment. I’d disagree and say that this tune would be great fun live. ‘Be Nobody’ builds moodily but never really kicks, there’s a contrast afterwards with ‘Great Relief’ which is quicker and brighter. The penultimate track ‘Watching From Great Heights’ might save the back end of the album.

Let’s call it a grower, they’ve not got a big following for nothing and perhaps their live work elevates these songs. They’ve spoke about a second album already, and that they’ve got material in the bank for it, this is a good record, not every LP has to blow the world away as a ‘never before seen’, I’m looking forward to hearing more.

Photo: The Guardian

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