I have been a fan of Sundara Karma since their emergence in 2014 so when they announced that they were finally releasing their debut ‘Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect’ last year, I was ecstatic. Having released the titles of their tracklist prior to the actual release, I was pleased to see their classics such as Loveblood, Flame, Vivienne and The Night featured. But I am slightly bitter that Diamond Cutter or Indigo Puff didn’t make the album which are my personal favourites. However, of course Sundara were bound to kick off with a few newbies including Lose the Feeling and Watching from Great Heights making me even more eager for the long-anticipated release.
Previous to the album’s proper release just two days ago, Sundara Karma had teased us with the releases of A Young Understanding, She said, Olympia and finally Happy Family. Each of these singles had reassured me that they were very much sticking to their original sound yet they were managing to make the overall production sound even bigger without losing any authenticity. Sundara Karma create a sound that is unique and regardless of how much alterations made in the studio, the sound still remains incredibly genuine and stripped back. This is explicit in Happy Family and The Night. I put this down to frontman Oscar Lulu’s ability to convey such nude emotion which appears utterly effortless in every single song that features on the debut.
Sundara have such an honest lyrical style and this is perfectly reflected in the title of the album itself and opening track A Young Understanding. We all know the highs and lows of adolescence and just how intoxicating habits in youth are which makes ‘Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect’ that bit more personal and that bit more relatable. A Young Understanding opens this 12 tracker with a climatic introduction which offers an insight into what the rest of the album is about. It lays all the bare emotion, problems and enjoyment of youth on the table with nothing left in the shadows and I know it sounds cliché but it’s almost the first chapter to a journey that everyone has wandered through.
Each of the 12 songs that feature on this record possess an incessant vitality whilst also remaining individual with their own unique vibe. There’s no doubt that each member of the indie rock quartet are complete perfectionists and what I particularly adore is their attention to detail. Having persistently soft, ethereal harmonies decorate and echo the passion of Oscar’s compelling voice which are particularly present in Lose the feeling and Deep Relief whilst often taking the moments to bring parts of their songs to a slower and more stripped level before going in guns a blazing such as in Loveblood are just two of the many things that I treasure about this band.
Sundara Karma have produced a debut-album that has really set the standard for upcoming music in 2017 and is already one of my favourite debut albums released by a modern band. Expressing a fearless and potent energy, it is perfectly suited to their bold live performances which I have to say, I am quite concerned about now that ‘Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect’ is out there. Having already almost a cult following of fans that don’t stop moshing from the moment they enter the stage, who knows how many barriers will end up seriously damaged from now on.
My personal favourites that are new from the album…
Lose the feeling