Strange Folk - Kula Shaker
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Mixed or average reviews - based on 8 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 8 Ratings

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  • Summary: The British psychedelic rock band's third album was produced by Tchad Blake and Chris Sheldon.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 8
  2. Negative: 1 out of 8
  1. Overall, Strangefolk is a welcome return. [Spring 2008, p.83]
  2. 60
    They haven't downsized: the rock is (well played) bog-standard retro, but themes cover Guantanamo and the afterlife. Amid the Dylan raps and Yardbirds licks (and if The Charlatans made this, they'd be garlanded) there's a welcome sense that they're smartly chuckling at themselves.
  3. Even if Kula Shaker never transcend their vintage influences, it's on the dreamier songs like the title track and 'Persephone' (billed as a bonus track, a move that's antiquated in its own right) that Strange Folk stands as an unexpectedly welcome comeback.
  4. 60
    Those who liked the first two albums will be pleased to hear the Deep Purple-esque, brazenly '60s organ-rock sounds and indian religious refernces still firmly in place. [Sep 2007, p.104]
  5. Strangefolk isn't awful. The lyrics are as fatuous as ever.
  6. It is hard not to listen to Kula Shaker and their banal, blissfully insulated retro-rock and not be a little amazed that a band can get so many right elements so wrong.
  7. The title track sounds like it is vocalised by the female speech function on a Mac's TextEdit facility and is roughly the worst thing ever made, yet it's still only the third-worst track on the album

See all 8 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Apr 28, 2011
    Unfairly maligned by the mainstream UK music press, Strangefolk represents a return by one of the more successful, if ephemeral, bands from the Britrock era.

    The first time around, the press seized upon a comment that, upon historical reflection, really wasn't all that offensive. It ended up destroying the band by ostracizing them from the "cool" club. Why the music press does this is anyone's guess; when bands ultimately disband they wistfully lament the loss later (example: Ride, derided for trying to change their sound, later referred to as "much-missed Ride"). In any event, this album is a solid, consistent album from a band that was road-hardened by the time of release. Kula Shaker spent a year on the road prior to the album's release and it shows - the band is focused and tight and their musicianship is as strong as ever.

    You have a mix of the "old" Kula Shaker - energetic psychedelic songs a la K or Peasants..., such as the cracking opener Out On The Highway and the lead single Second Sight, and some of the more melodic, modern Kula Shaker straight-forward sound like the fantastic tracks Shadowland, Fool That I Am, and Hurricane Season. There's still the Indian influence -- perhaps the standout track of the entire set is Song of Love / Narayana - a Kula Shaker track if there ever was one. Mills gets political with his criticisms of George W. Bush on Great Dictator (Of The Free World), a funny song and not a bad tune either. Two other standouts are 6ft Down Blues, with a great groovy riff, and the bonus track Persephone, a sad ballad. Overall, this is an album you can pop into your music player and listen to straight through. You can't say that about too many albums these days. The value for the money is there, the musicianship is there, and most importantly, the songs are there. This was one of the great comebacks of the late 2000s, an era that saw many bands reform that were much missed by people not trying to make the room laugh by slagging a band for no reason or slagging a band because it's the popular thing to do (Shed Seven, Dodgy, etc). While none of the singles are on the "wow" level of Tattva, Govinda, Hey Dude, Hush, or Sound of Drums, there are some great songs here.

    The real rule for music is simple. If it sounds good, it IS good -- and this album sounds great.
  2. IsaacA.
    Mar 5, 2008
    Not as bad as the critics make out, and some tracks are actually quite good, but not near the heady days of K or Pigs, Peasants and Astronaughts.
  3. MarcosC.
    Mar 10, 2008
    Best of this album, "Dictator of the free world" and, specially, "Lovesong / Narayana", one of the greatest mixes of pop and psychodelia I've ever heard. Expand