Sundara Karma – Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect Review 

Sundara Karma, an indie band based in Reading, just came out on the 6th of January with their debut album “Youth is only ever fun in retrospect”.

Sundara Karma is composed of four young members. Oscar Lulu, vocals and guitar, Haydn Evans on the drums, Ally Baty, guitar, and Dom Cordell plays the bass. Together they are a refreshing mix whose sound remembers Arcade Fire, Bruce Springsteen, The Wombat and Fleet Foxes.

Trough the 12 songs of the album is a kind of post-punk, beat-led, version of arcade fire. The singer, Oscar Lulu, sounds like Win Butler from Arcade Fire but with a strong falsetto. They have a characteristic big polyphonic sound, built on big guitars, big drums and arpeggiated guitars. The singer has a mesmerizing voice which makes you totally sink in into this album.


‘Loveblood’, personal favourite to play of Oscar and Haydn, is upbeat with a catchy refrain which makes you want to move to the strong, rhythmic drums and guitar combination.

Sundara Karma slow down a bit in their track ‘The Night’ which sounds a bit darker than the rest. It starts with a nearly pulsating sound which prepares you for a short drum session and then the whole song is characterised by a very present steady but subtle presence of the bass played by Cordell.

The song ‘Vivienne’ starts in a very interesting with a combination of only drums and guitar way and feels a bit of a power ballade with a strong chorus about a nearly toxic relationship with a disengaged girl and the need to feel alive.

‘Happy Family’ starts with a guitar melody which will be in the background troughout the whole track. Lulus’ voice starts out melancholic but the song, and voice, cheer up as soon as the bass and bold drums set in.

The track ‘Be Nobody’ has a steady, not too fast rhythm with a lot of repetition in melody and text which makes it almost hypnotising. This song has some Fleeting Foxes elements to it without loosing the influence from Arcade Fire.

‘A young understanding’ is a bit more rocky than the others, more powerful. It starts out with ‘Hold on tight, you’ve got a way to go’. It could be an anthem for who has changes ahead, which is typical for young people. The song slows down for a strophe in the second half where the words are stressed, nearly dragged out.

‘Flames’ has a refreshing sound, good melody and intriguing lyrics. People listened to it nearly 3,000,000 times on Spotify.
All tracks lyrics are open for interpretation and the meaning varies depending on who tries to explain the meaning. This band has the potential to fill up stadiums, no wonder their upcoming gigs are mostly sold out!

They have great potential but they still need to find that little something that makes them stand out from the crowd and they should elaborate their lyrics more. Some might argue, that some songs are a bit too similar to each other but they sure are moving in the right direction. 

Sundara Karma – Youth is only ever fun in retrospect = 7/10 

Lea Fabbrini