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

Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect

Released 6th January 2017

Words: Gary Lambert

sundara-karma-album-artworkThe sixth of January is usually the sign for the tree and decorations to come down and for you to prepare for a month of hard times as the excess of Yuletide catches up with us all. However, 2017 has got something different planned for you and me both. Whilst the hermit times take place instead of listening to your favourite album of last year, we can listen to one of the best albums of 2017. And trust me, the wonderfully titled Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect by Sundara Karma is going to stand up and fight all through the year to the best of’s in December. If it doesn’t, we are probably in for the best year of music since 1968.


Listen to this album in full before you make up your mind too. Ever since The Strokes decided to tear the world a new one, debut albums have tended to be a bit top heavy with little respect for the listener or the album as a piece of art. Stick in the best songs first and they will stop at track four and buy the album. Probably the most well known of Sundara Karma’s releases is the brilliant She Said which is tucked away as track seven on the album. Unlike on radio, She Said does not stand head and shoulders above the mundanity. In fact, it sounded brilliantly average as I was still on a metaphoric high from listening to the six minute long Happy Family.


For me, Happy Family is the encapsulation of Sundara Karma in one song. Whilst it has the usual gorgeous vocal from Oscar, the tune is ambitious, glorious and takes you on an undulating journey like a slowed down rubber dinghy rapids. It is probably too long in the modern age to release for radio, but like Champagne Supernova when it comes to live events this is going to be the moment that brings everybody together.


Album closer, The Night, keeps that ambitious sound but adds a touch of Springsteen grit to an obvious pop vocal. It is so strange. In fact, it makes me think of Lovin’ Each Day by Ronan Keating being covered by The Boss. It’s surreal in its way. I love it!


Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect does seem a lot more polished than the sound of Sundara Karma that has been blasted out in toilet to Academy sized venues for the last eighteen months, but in a way with that sheen they manage to balance the spinning top of their attributes perfectly. You have tunes that will get everybody putting their arms around each other to timelessly sing along with. There is a more than enough opportunity to get a girl up to dance with – or more likely to get up and join the girls dancing as they are usually ahead of the curve on these things. And there is so much musical beauty that even your mum and dad can listen to it without being annoyed at it not being from the 1970’s.


And there doesn’t seem to be a banger of a tune that will make you get bored with the laddish antics in the crowd quickly. Pyrotechnics are not for gigs. Sweat, sexiness and lukewarm Red Stripe are what it’s all about. Basically, Sundara Karma have released an album that is “Sundara Karma”. Hallelujah!


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    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

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