Word and mouth is possibly one of the most popular and definitely the most cost effective ways of promotion. Music always being something people want to share with others, it is possibly the industry to benefit from this the most. Although the English indie pop/rock band Sundara Karma have not been around for that long I’m not sure I would have heard about them had it not been for a friend. This would have been a great loss on my part as I am shocked I’ve never listened to them before. Just from the first song I listened to I knew I needed to share this musical experience with more people.
Beginning in 2011 and hailing from Reading, England, the band consists of Oscar Pollock on guitar and vocals, Ally Baty on lead guitar, Dom Cordell on bass and Haydn Evans on drums. The sound of the band is something that can be likened to ‘classic indie’, that something slightly different that doesn’t quite fit into the mainstream but pushes the boundaries of a niche market at the same time.
Back when both Pollock and Evans were still in secondary school they decided to start playing music together, forming a few bands that fell through until some time later. Meeting Baty and Cordell seemed to help them find that little something the other two were missing and birthed the creation that is Sundara Karma. The band take their name from Sanskrit words meaning ‘Beautiful Karma’ which could be seen as an overall description of their music. A beautiful sound that can instantly brighten your mood and just brush off the worries of the day because that’s just life.
In July 2013 Sundara Karma released their debut single ‘Freshbloom’ on SoundCloud which is a fast paced song perfect to jam out to when getting ready for a night out. They take the idea of a monotonous tune and turn it into something truly artistic as the beat constantly builds to the chorus before mellowing momentarily and hitting back hard. ‘Freshbloom’ alone embodies a sound that will inspire and seduce you with a combination of a heavy beat and Pollock’s echoing voice. Sundara Karma have been described as indie art and their lyrics are undeniable evidence of this claim. ‘Freshbloom’ is an artistic combination of poetic words that seem to describe a night the narrator never wants to end, how they want to ‘live another moonlight’ and ‘see smoke dance through the air.’
Listen to ‘Freshbloom’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_55uGQyyrg
The artistic beauty of ‘Freshbloom’ led to the band supporting Swim Deep for their UK tour in 2013 along with Wolf Alice as well as making their debut performance at Reading Festival the same year. By March 2014 they released their second single, ‘Cold Heaven’, on Chess Club Records before going on to release two more singles later that year. One of those singles, ‘Indigo Puff,’ was used in an Australian TV ad in 2015 for Mercedes-Benz. After a few years of slow single releases the band came together to release their first EP, EP I, in 2015 before being officially signed to Chess Club Records. Their first EP lead to a second, simply titled EP II, that featured singer-songwriter Marika Hackman in the song ‘Prisons to Purify.’
The slow building progress of their music has brought Sundara Karma to the growing rock star status they are being donned with today. After signing with Sony’s RCA label, the guys released their first fully fledged debut album Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect earlier this year. The album hit number twenty-four on the UK Albums chart and led to the band being the support act for Two Door Cinema Club and Bastille. Youth is Only Every Fun in Retrospect is an example of modern age rock and continues the band’s reputation as a festival band. Each song being something that conjures the need to hear it live and no doubt viciously increase the demand for tour tickets. Sundara Karma have obviously taken a leaf out of Mumford and Sons book by creating music that will evoke happy memories and good moods no matter the song’s subject content. Tracks such as ‘Loveblood’ further push the band forward as artists with lyrics that explore love in a profoundly literary way.
Listen to ‘Loveblood’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wK_Bzu0GUc
Before even learning anything about the band, ‘Happy Family’ from their debut album had me hooked and needing my next fix of the band’s music before the track had even finished. The sound of the track evokes visions of long road trips and festival nights with a beautifully simple guitar riff for the introduction. The vocals of the song are soothing and unique, soaring throughout the track in an almost angelic nature. ‘Happy Family’ lulls you into a trance you are quickly awakened from by the two minute point as the initial sound fades and hits back with a prominent drum beat that builds into something you can’t help but dance to. The song manages to be comforting and something to keep you on your toes simultaneously.
Listen to ‘Happy Family’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bGs64ipYpU
Although Sundara Karma are slowly climbing the ladder of success they are no doubt on their way up. A band taking advantage of a growing festival mad world and bringing the effortless fun music of these events directly to their audience no matter where they are.
Review by Skye W. Winwood