When Sundara Karma released their critically and commercially successful debut album 'Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect' back in 2017, it found itself mixed in with a number of other interesting indie-rock albums of that year. Not really standing out amongst the wave of new music, the band have clearly looked to reinvent a lot of what they stand for as they return with 'Ulfilas’ Alphabet', a record that looks to add plenty of diversity and eccentricity to their standard sound and deliver a more confident approach in the process.
While their debut LP received a lot of comparisons to the likes of art-rock outfits like Arcade Fire, this new collection sees the band take their influences even further back, channelling the experimental pop nature of David Bowie and encouraging a more psychedelic aesthetic with singles like 'A Song For My Future Self'. But what stands out most of this new collection is just how unconventionally eclectic it is. With tracks like 'Higher States' adopting an electronic bed of post-punk inspirations and 'Little Smart Houses' taking a more pop-rock path, 'Ulfilas’ Alphabet' is jumbled selection of ideas that still manage to gel themselves together pretty well.
It may not have the same cohesive and succinct direction as their debut, but instead has filled itself with plenty of highly engaging cuts that manage to keep the pace and energy high throughout the record. It feels like Sundara Karma are on the hunt for a new sound, and are just trying a whole bunch of ideas at once until something clicks. It definitely feels like a transition of sorts, and will only give us more to look forward as they progress as a group.