On paper, it doesn't look too promising: Kula Shaker is a British pop-rock band that incorporates retro organs and Middle Eastern instruments into its swagger-rock jams. Singer/guitarist Crispian Mills even delivers select vocals in Sanskrit (as on "Govinda"). Sound appalling? Well, the band's debut CD, K, is a lot better than it should be. For starters, Kula Shaker takes more than a few pages from the increasingly utilized Oasis playbook: Mills has a big, brash voice, and the production highlights Kula Shaker's big, swollen overall sound. Fortunately, the New Age consciousness crap usually falls by the wayside amid the jamming accessibility of songs like "Hey Dude" and "Knight On The Town," as well as the easy-going "Tattva" and "Into The Deep." The album is pretty insipid in select spots—and the cover art is pretty unforgivable—but for the most part, K's sound overshadows and outshines its hippie-dippy aspirations.

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