Kula Shaker Reincarnated @ The Junction, Cambridge, Oct 9

KULA Shaker are back – in fact they have been back for some time now, but have cleverly kept their profile low and not trumpeted their reunion as a momentous comeback. Instead, they ve been steadily putting together an album and playing small venues acros

KULA Shaker are back - in fact they have been back for some time now, but have cleverly kept their profile low and not trumpeted their reunion as a momentous comeback.

Instead, they've been steadily putting together an album and playing small venues across the country since late 2005. I saw them at Kings Cross Scala last summer and I am happy to report that they remain one of the finest live bands I've seen. At first it felt a little nostalgic - they had been away for a while after all, but as they introduced some new tracks, I think a lot of people soon realised they were back as that fun, but artistic force we'd loved before. I recently spoke to lead singer Crispian Mills about their return and he began by telling me about their new album, Strangefolk.

"Recording the album took a little longer than we had thought, but it had to stand alongside the other two records - after such a long gap we really couldn't afford for it to be rushed. We didn't want to do the cliched comeback ritual which involves a calculated spinning of column inches and all the rest of it. We had to start almost as a new band - we felt we had to spend years possibly rediscovering our audience and becoming a vital music-making outfit again."

I suggested that the new material doesn't sound desperate for the limelight like a comeback record can sometimes do.


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He said: "Limelight is rather fleeting. We had a lot of work to do. There's nothing wrong with taking six years off if your music requires it - if your band is falling apart from the lunacy of the pop business. It's easy to get lost in it, which is what we did. Either you're serious about what you do and take pride in it or you're just making a fast buck. It's great if you can do both."

When I ask if he was ever tempted to avoid the baggage of the Kula Shaker name and the accusations of a "reunion" Crispian sums up their new approach nicely:

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"Well it's a reincarnation and we've tried to keep it a bit more local and grass roots than before."

With that in mind, the reincarnated Kula Shaker visit Cambridge Junction on October 9 towards the end of their current UK tour and just before a series of European dates.

Almost Famous has one pair of tickets to be won for the show - to be in with a chance of winning, just email the answer to the following question to chris@boland1.plus.com

* Question: What is the name of the new Kula Shaker album?

CHRIS BOLAND

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