Before The World by Club Kuru – Album Review

Before The World by Club Kuru Album Review (2) - Copy

By Ellie Victor

Club Kuru’s third album marks a striking return for the London-based psychedelic rock project after a five-year hiatus. Under the leadership of jazz-trained Laurie Erskine, the album blends pop-edged psychedelia with a newfound soulful and expansive appeal. It’s a dynamic shift in the band’s sound that also remains true to their roots.

Recorded over a brisk two weeks in Erskine’s South East London bungalow studio, the album’s creation was marked by an intense, almost urgent, creative process. With Ben Landon on mixing duties, the decision to record direct to tape imbues Before The World with a warmth and immediacy, capturing the spontaneous energy of a live performance. “Most of my favourite albums were recorded to tape,” Erskine notes.

Before The World by Club Kuru Album Review (3)

Laurie Erskine of Club Kuru


The album’s introspective nature stems from a period of personal reflection and upheaval for Erskine. Confronting themes of life and death following a significant family loss and the subsequent arrival of new life, the record navigates the spectrum of emotions that these upheavals bring. This emotional complexity is woven into the album’s fabric, creating a tapestry of sombre reflections and hopeful resolutions.

It opens with ‘Who Am I,’ a six-minute exploration that showcases the band’s telepathic interplay. With shades of Jeff Buckley’s freewheeling expressionism, the track’s extended outro, while occasionally dragging, reflects a search for identity. The title track, ‘Before The World,’ offers a choppier pace, a necessary gear shift that energises the record and demonstrates the band’s versatility.

‘Gone Like A Flower’ drifts into dreamlike textures reminiscent of Beach House, with floaty chords and a neat solo that propels the track into new territory. ‘Sunshine Kiss The Water’ is a sun-stretched ballad, Clapton-esque riffs rippling across its surface, evoking a sense of wonder at the natural world – a theme that continues throughout.

Before The World by Club Kuru Album Review (1) - Copy“Hope and renewal”

‘Blue Sky’ and ‘The Sound of Wings’ form an almost ambient pair, their ethereal quality comparing to Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Albatross.’ However, their subdued nature leaves the listener craving more dynamism. ‘Morning Bird’ and closer ‘White Doves’ provide this needed contrast. ‘White Doves,’ in particular, emerges as a standout with its modern lounge prog feel, encapsulating the album’s diverse sounds and textures for a fine finale.

Throughout Before The World, Erskine’s evolution as a vocalist is evident. His direct approach to singing opens up new emotional depths, especially on tracks like ‘Sunshine Kiss The Water.’ The lyrics, often reflective and tinged with melancholy, are balanced by moments of hope and renewal, a testament to Erskine’s developing skill as a songwriter.

Before The World is a laid-back yet inventive collection that promises a brighter future for Club Kuru. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait another five years for the next instalment.


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