‘Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect’ is the catchily titled, debut album by Reading based, indie quartet, Sundara Karma and was released in early January. The band are currently playing live alongside Two Door Cinema Club and are set to head out on their own headline tour later this month. Although already having been familiar with a lot of the album before it was released, I decided to revisit the album a month on to review it after having given it a better listen.
‘A Young Understanding’ is a rather explosive introduction to the album with a Killers-esque breakdown. But the album quickly progresses into the already familiar ‘Loveblood’ which is brash, confident and even dominant in parts. It’s definitely an early favourite on the album and very much a highlight even if so early on. ‘Olympia’ is somewhat the opposite to ‘Loveblood’ in parts. Regarding the verses, it has a rather anxious streak to it, but the choruses are sure of themselves and powerful in their own right. There’s something reminiscent of The Maccabees throughout ‘Olympia’.
‘Happy Family’ is rather mellow in comparison to the rest of the album. The rather acoustic intro to the track is full of layered, harmonic vocals complimented by flickering guitar melodies before being joined by a funky bassline and drumbeat later on.
I wasn’t too keen on ‘Flame’ to start with, but with its repetitive chorus, after a few listens it became so catchy that I couldn’t keep away from it. The album is then drifts into a bit of a lull during ‘Lose The Feeling‘, but is quickly brought back to life by ‘She Said’. The track is punchy, danceable and upbeat in the same way as ‘Deep Relief’ is later on in the album.
The album progresses into slow-burner, ‘Be Nobody’ which is filled with monotonous guitars and less audible vocals in comparison to the rest of the album. Before we know it, ‘The Night’ is upon us. A perfect album closer with an atmospheric feel to it and it actually feels quite epic in a way.
Although not being anything groundbreaking, Sundara Karma pull together inspiration from many greats over the past 20 years, while still managing to forge their own unique sound. The band have a lot of places to go from here and this is by far only the beginning. ‘Youth Is Only Fun In Retrospect’ drifts along and feels quite safe in parts, but in others, it jumps out at you and even has some aspects which even hit anthemic heights. It’s a solid album and definitely something to be built on. It has definite qualities that pretty much solidify it as an early contender as one of our favourite albums of the year.