Kula Shaker: still stuck in a world of pot, patchouli and letting it all hang out

More than 25 years on, 1st Congregational Church Of Eternal Love And Free Hugs finds Kula Shaker moving from ’67 to ’68.

1st Congregational Church Of Eternal Love And Free Hugs cover art cover art
(Image: © Strange Folk)

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Even in 1996 when K was the fastest-selling British debut album ever, Kula Shaker were already harking back to a mythical 1960s of pot, patchouli and letting it all hang out. In their world, time was something that happens only to other people. 

And so here we are, more than a quarter of a century down the line, and the retro-heads are still stuck in an endless loop of the past where only the cost of powering a lava lamp might well jolt them into the present.

A double album held together by a series of spoken-word pieces set in a leaking church, it largely falls flat in a way that The Coral’s Coral Island doesn’t. 

I’m Against It and 108 Ways To Leave Your Narcissist show that their touchstones remain an unholy amalgam of early Deep Purple and Small Faces, which is as surprising as Wednesday following Tuesday.

Julian Marszalek

Julian Marszalek is the former Reviews Editor of The Blues Magazine. He has written about music for Music365, Yahoo! Music, The Quietus, The Guardian, NME and Shindig! among many others. As the Deputy Online News Editor at Xfm he revealed exclusively that Nick Cave’s second novel was on the way. During his two-decade career, he’s interviewed the likes of Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Ozzy Osbourne, and has been ranted at by John Lydon. He’s also in the select group of music journalists to have actually got on with Lou Reed. Marszalek taught music journalism at Middlesex University and co-ran the genre-fluid Stow Festival in Walthamstow for six years.