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Many rock artists have been inspired by the Middle Eastern melodies and head-spinning psychedelia of '60s acts like the Beatles, the Doors, and Pink Floyd, but Kula Shaker's brand of musical mysticism comes straight from the source. Frontman Crispian Mills has studied Buddhism and pilgrimaged to India, and on the band's second record, PEASANTS, PIGS AND ASTRONAUTS, his fascination with spirituality helps songs like "Mystical Machine Gun," "Great Hosannah," and "Golden Avatar" shimmer with radiance. Several tracks are even written in the ancient Indian language Sanskrit. Fortunately, Mills and his band mates are as familiar with the classic-rock edifices of the Who, Jethro Tull, and Deep Purple as they are with the Rock of Ages. Of course, Kula Shaker's 1996 debut, K, also blended '60s rock with '90s pop, but PEASANTS, PIGS AND ASTRONAUTS is more ambitious, augmenting the ceremony with braying horns, soaring strings, and epic arrangements. Occasionally the band gets too sentimental or sonically overindulgent, but for the most part, PEASANTS, PIGS AND ASTRONAUTS is truly transcendent.