Personnel: Olivier Leclercqz (sitar); Stéphanie Gilly (trumpet, French horn); Jean-Noël Bastin (trombone); Audrey Evans (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Duck Blackwell.
Recording information: State Of The Ark, London, England; The Tea Rooms, Lompret, Belgium.
Photographer: Nicole Frobusch.
Kula Shaker get to the Version 2.0 joke nearly two decades after Garbage, but never let it be said that the band wishes to live in the present. Ever since forming at the height of Brit-pop, Kula Shaker set their sights on the golden age of the late '60s, an era of enduring peace, love, harmony, and other psychedelic notions. Two decades later, they remain besotted with those halcyon post-Pepper days but there's an additional wrinkle of nostalgia to 2016's K 2.0, which is designed as an explicit sequel to their 1996 debut, K. Older, perhaps wiser, Kula Shaker now pine for two pasts: the one they missed and the one they had. Musically, these two pasts sound identical but K 2.0 feels substantially different than K, swapping callow exuberance for weathered professionalism, a trade that actually is to the benefit of Kula Shaker. As younger men, they -- or, perhaps more precisely, Crispian Mills -- stumbled into silliness and crassness whenever they attempted to tip a hat to George Harrison or Jerry Garcia, but now they've simply absorbed the lessons they've learned and are content to lay back, spinning out trippy harmonies and fuzzy riffs, music where the feel matters far more than individual songs. This also means the band hasn't changed much in 20 years -- back in 1996, songs were also secondary to vibe; they were still peddling hippie nonsense -- but the older Kula Shaker are better at execution, which means K 2.0 is the rare sequel that trumps the original. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine