Theatre Royal …and another slice of pure psych pop brilliance

.​.​.​and then it fell out of my head by Theatre Royal
Theatre Royal’s fourth album, …And then it fell out of my head

Theatre Royal‘s fourth album, …And then it fell out of my head is yet another slice of pure psych pop brilliance.  Strong melodies, engaging lyrical content and well structured songs.

Dipping toes into past glories and offering the occasional nod to those who have gone before them, Theatre Royal effortlessly manage to place a contemporary spin sound on the so-called ‘Medway Sound’ and in doing so, act as the perfect conduit between past and present. A truism borne out at the recent ‘Medway Weekender‘ where they offered perfect baton-clenching support to Cliffe and Medway’s finest, The Claim, at the prestigious 100 Club in London’s Oxford Street.

…And then it fell out of my head continues their love and inspiration for the river and the sea and all that goes before it. Lyrics constantly return to the river and the waves either physical or metaphorically speaking in songs like Port Bou and Standing In The Land, with what I perceive to be a strong political statement (“how can we be free, when’s there’s dying in the sea, because of you and me”).

The ‘current’ fab four must ooze confidence being able to start their fourth album with a track as powerful as Port Bou. It sets the scene, “I swim in the midnight sea, just the waves and me”. Wave after wave, the song keeps crashing forward and has me nodding  metrical, measured, throbbing, beating, pulsating, cadenced, lilting, repeated, periodic, regular, steady paced approval, as if I’m already familiar with a first play.  A good sign of a great pop song; and this one is screaming Echo & The Bunnymen in their pomp!

…And then it fell out of my head is another very strong album, which being their fourth is a testament to their fine songwriting prowess. Twelve new songs, each with their own merits.  Along with Port Bou, Tune Out is a stand out track for me. A fast and furious, adrenaline rushing, foot-tapping, lipsmacking, thirstquenching, acetasting, motivating, goodbuzzing, cooltalking, highwalking, fastliving, evergiving, coolfizzing, wonderful psych pop tune from the evergreen Theatre Royal.

I really love the play out of this song, and only wish it continued for a few minutes longer, rather than a quick change and fade.

Where The Land Meets The Sky is another favourite from the album, with what I thought was a ‘ba baba ba ba’ homage to Cliff Richard & The Shadows ‘Out In The Country’.  But turns out I was wrong and a nod in The Velvet Underground’s later sunshine pop tunes is all that is referenced here.

If you haven’t already heard and fallen in love with Theatre Royal, you need to get out more!

…And then it fell out of my head by Theatre Royal is released on Vacilando ’68 Recordings on 31st March on limited colour vinyl and is available to pre-order now.

Kula Shaker University of Norwich – Live Review

Kula Shaker @ University of Norwich, 5th December 2016

Kula Shaker are touring to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their classic album ‘K’, released in 1996. Whenever bands start to look back on their career there is always the worry that they have become curators of their own legacy rather than a creative force in their own right, and that was the worry I had walking into the same venue in Norwich where they had played twenty years before.

This is not to say that the band is now solely concerned with their past: in February they released ‘K 2.0’, very much in the same raga rock vein as their earlier album and intended as a companion piece. They say the new record came about by reflecting back on ‘K’, and on the progress they have made since, reimagining old songs from a more mature perspective. That was also what the band would need to do on stage, to justify touring a twenty-year-old album.

Looking at the faces in the packed room it seemed likely that many of the same fans that had been in attendance the last time, were here again. Not having experienced ‘K’ the first time around I didn’t share the same nostalgia of many in the room, meaning that for me the gig would have to stand on its own merits.

After an opening cover of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band charmingly repurposed as Kula Shaker’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, lead singer Crispian Mills put my initial concerns to rest, wryly wheeling a record player on stage and announcing that they were here to play ‘K’ in full. The band soon got on to the matter in hand and blitzed through the first few tracks, infecting the whole room with their youthful energy, albeit with the assuredness of a band that has been honing their craft for the past two decades. Mill’s virtuosity was in full evidence, toying with these familiar songs, not content to give the fans what they could get simply from listening the record.

Aside from playing through the album, the set list was peppered with offcuts and B-sides, with Under the Hammer – a song about the hardships of a young band struggling to get any gigs – being a particular highlight. New songs 33 Crows and Infinite more than stood up to the older material and it was very encouraging to see that they haven’t lost their touch for penning their particular brand of psych-pop tunes.

All members of the band were clearly enjoying themselves, the familiar songs providing a solid base for experimenting. Playing through the second side of the album, trading solos on 303 and Start All Over, they galvanized the positivity in the room for biggest hit Hush – anthemic and catchy this got the entire room chanting along, caught up in the moment.

By the encore I had been thoroughly convinced by a band that, far from looking backwards, wanted to propel their classic material into the present. Their willingness to experiment made the album feel less like a museum piece and more like an ongoing musical project, and as they left the stage, I was cheering just as loudly as the fans who had experienced Kula Shaker twenty years before.

Kula Shaker Play K for UK Dates

Kula Shaker
Kula Shaker

It’s been 20 years since Kula Shaker exploded into the UK Britpop Scene with their million selling debut album K.  Their brand of esoteric psychedelic pop rock, full of Eastern mysticism made them one the most unique (often termed eccentric) of the Brit Pop bands in the 1990s.

This year Kula Shaker are back together playing intense live performances as witnessed at the Roundhouse earlier this year.  Govinda sung entirely in Sanskrit and the only Sanskrit top 10 UK single ever,  is still chanted by the crowds that attend the shows.  Tattva, Hey Dude, through to the hit single Hush are all great songs that still sound as fresh today, 20 years on.

Further celebrations for the 20th Anniversary of the ‘K’ album will see the band performing ‘K’ in its entirety, alongside songs from the rest of their four albums, on their UK December tour.

Kula Shaker UK dates:

1 December   OXFORD, Academy

5 December   NORWICH, UEA

6 December   GUILDFORD, G Live

8 December   LONDON, Forum

9 December   LONDON, Forum

10 December   MANCHESTER, Albert Hall

11 December   BIRMINGHAM, Institute

13 December   BRISTOL, Academy

14 December   LIVERPOOL, Academy

15 December   NEWCASTLE, Academy

17 December   LEEDS, Academy

18 December   GLASGOW, O2 ABC

For tickets visit:  http://www.kulashaker.co.uk/

Maya Galattici album Exogen Tantra is full of catchy psych indie pop

Maya Galattici album Exogen Tantra is full of psych indie pop
Maya Galattici album Exogen Tantra

Maya Galattici is Alessandro Antonel and Marco Pagot from Italy. Their musical influences play out on this their second album.  Psych and indie pop merge with sci-fi and  retro Italian soundtracks knit together to create a wonderfully light, feel-good and uplifting album. There is a hazy summer pop feel that flows through Exogen Tantra that makes me want to smile every time I listen to it.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7fTrwqij0o

Maya Galattici refers to theories about Mayan’s contacts with alien visitors, ancient space astronauts and about the origin and evolution of life on planet earth. Exogen Tantra shows the band to have several layers or sounds.  It opens with the delightful ‘Alligator‘ with its jangly 1960s guitar, retro synths and “do-doo-doo” vocals. ‘Mother’s Blues‘ and ‘While The Day Explodes In The Summer Sunshine‘ are beautifully crafted slices of pure indie pop the likes of Pains Of Being Pure At Heart would be pleased with.

‘I Kill The Machine‘ stands alone on the album and is no surprise to learn it was released as a single as early as 2013.  It sounds groovy and familiar, like the theme tune for a long lost 1960s sci-fi TV series with its retro futuristic keyboards and 1960s pop sensibilities. While songs like ‘Where My Mind Goes When I Sleep‘ and ‘The Way To Have Happiness‘ are pure summer pop songs. The harmonies on the latter is reminiscent of Kings Of Convenience, while the album is neatly tied together with a 1960s pop psychedelic production and sound. Maya Galattici’ s debut album Analogic Signals from the Sun was released in 2011.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-C1uXJPocP

Maya Galattici – Exogen Tantra Tracklisting:

01. Alligator
02. I Want A Head
03. I Kill The Machine
04. Where My Mind Goes When I Sleep
05. The Way To Have Happiness
06. Mother’s Blues
07. While The Day Explodes In The Summer Sunshine
08. In The Morning
09. Listening To The Radio
10. Stereonauts Instrumental Track

Maya Galattici new album ‘Exogen Tantra’ is released on Garage Records.