It’s been a wild ride for Berkshire based quartet Sundara Karma; having been exposed to the public through BBC Introducing in 2014, they continued their rise to fame with the release of their debut album “Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect” on 6th January earlier this year, on the back of a huge 2016 in which they played Kendal Calling, Y Not Festival, the main stage at Reading & Leeds festival, a number of UK tours including visits to Manchester, Birmingham and London, and all finished off with a tour of the US in November.
They have also already planned for an even bigger year than the previous, revealing a huge UK tour spreading over January and February. On this tour they’ll perform at venues such as the 02 Academy Newcastle, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Liverpool 02 Academy and Alexandra Palace in London. The fact that this tour was announced way before the album release date signals the confidence emitting from these guys right now.
The debut album starts with the previously released single “A Young Understanding” - a powerful opener in which the lead singer Oscar reveals his gritty vocals, complemented by pacey and catchy riffs. The lyrics seem to immediately address the album title, relating often to youth; “You know that time is on your side” and “it makes you feel better than the other girls”, reminding us all just how young the artists are. They couldn’t have chosen a better track to open the album with.
The pace of the album is kept up with the second and third tracks, also previously released “Loveblood” and “Olympia”. These two tracks are good, sounding similar to the likes of Clean Cut Kid and even Biffy Clyro in their Only Revolutions era, but the songs fail to add any variety to the album from the first track. It isn’t until the fourth song “Happy family” where we hear a change in the album sound and a look into the potential Sundara Karma have, with much more harmonised vocals and a style similar to that of Mumford & Sons.
The album’s defining sound, in my opinion, is “She Said”. This feel- good track is purely made for festival season. This song, and “Flame” also, imprint the band into a funky yet intelligent indie sound, one that Foals have mastered over the years. These two are the stand outs, due to their danceable nature and easily recallable lyrics.
Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect is indeed an album filled with catchy songs, and combined with the youthful energy this band creates on stage makes for a very promising tour and future. This is a debut album which will open doors for the young four- piece band, but in order to establish themselves as top dogs of the indie/ alternative music scene they need to find their sound, hone in on what they do best, and produce songs with a longer lasting effect. Overall, a proud effort for the newcomers.
Join Sundara Karma on their first UK headline tour on the following dates:
04/02 – Glasgow, Barrowland Ballroom
06/02 – Southampton, O2 Guildhall
07/02 – Bristol, O2 Academy
09/02 – London, Alexandra Palace
10/02 – London, Alexandra Palace
11/02 – Birmingham, O2 Institute
12/02 – Liverpool, O2 Academy
13/02 – Sheffield, Leadmill
15/02 – Newcastle, University of Northumbria
16/02 – Manchester, Albert Hall
17/02 – Glasgow, Garage
18/02 – Leeds, University
19/02 – Reading, University
20/02 – Leicester, O2 Academy
22/02 – Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms
23/02 – Cardiff, University
24/02 – London, Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospective is available now on iTunes