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Review: In 'Retrospect," Sundara Karma creates an alt rock buzz (Grade: A-minus)

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 9:49 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 10:15 a.m. CDT

In my piece 2 weeks ago listing my favorite records of 2016, I listed Sundara Karma EP, "Loveblood," at No. 13. "I predict this British quartet will be a buzz band in alternative rock in 2017," I wrote.

Let the buzz begin. The band on Friday released its debut album, "Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect." That's a winner is not at all a surprise – despite the fractured English in the title.

It's not a surprise mostly because if you have listened to Sundara Karma the past 2 years, you have already heard most of this record. Of the 12 tracks, 8 were previously released as singles or on EPs in the U.S. Two of them – "Happy Family" and "Flame" – were released weeks before the album. Odd.

Sundara Karma is the latest in a line of impressive British bands like Catfish and The Bottlemen, and Circa Waves, that have broken big on the alternative rock scene the past couple of years. Interestingly, both of those bands also first trickled out a good portion of their debut albums as singles.

There's nothing complex about Sundara Karma. The band plays guitar rock with anthemic choruses, with only occasional acoustic guitars and keyboard splashes. But standout songs such as "A Young Understanding," "Loveblood" and "She Said" are fun and stick easily in your memory. The recently released single, "Happy Family" is a slower, sultry tune that shows a band capable of versatility.

It's a strong debut from a band that should be a big draw come summer.

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