Kula Shaker (Columbia)
Album of the week
Mum was never this hip. Then again, former child actress Hayley Mills, mother of lead Shaker Crispian Mills, did score a U.S. pop hit (“Let’s Get Together” from the 1961 movie The Parent Trap), a musical milestone that has so far eluded her 26-year-old son. British guitarist-vocalist Mills and his cohorts—Jay Darlington (keyboard), Paul Winter-hart (drums) and Alonza Bevan (bass)—arrived in 1996 with K, a Brit pop gem adored by critics but ignored by American CD buyers. Here again they demonstrate that they have the goods to hit big. And, if it were still the late 1960s (the classic rock golden era that the group’s sound evokes), they no doubt would. With richly textured melodies and ringing vocal harmonies that at times seem eerily reminiscent of a certain fabulous Liverpudlian foursome, Kula Shaker (named for a 9th-centurv Indian king) masters all manner of pop styles, from rave-up psychedelia to smokey blues and exotic, Delhi-flavored sound-scapes.
Bottom Line: Memorable, modern sound fashioned from oldie styles