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The Kooks Latest Offering

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The Kooks 10 TRACKS TO ECHO IN THE DARK. AWAL

I really hope that sense of inner peace comes across,” says Pritchard of the album’s optimistic outlook. “I really want to have fun with muy life at this point. But also it’s kinda a reflection of what I was feeling in real-time in a pre-and-post COVID world. I was reading a lot of sci-fi - like Philip K. Dick, Azimov and surreal stuff like Boris Vian - which is obviously very distracting from what’s going on in the world, but helped me be imaginative with the songs.”

Luke On Berlin Recording: “I started going to Berlin for three or four days at a time. I was really affected by Brexit and I wanted to make a bit of a statement by creating a European record,” he explains. “We’re a European band, we practically lived out there and have so much love for Europe, so we wanted to keep that connection.”

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Review

How time flies! Way back in 2005 I witnessed a performance by The Kooks - 17 years ago! At the time the band was hailed as the next big thing with acres of radio airplay and general media coverage. The images included here are from that Bandwagon concert. I seem to remember the period represented a purple patch for bands of The Kooks ilk. This new record slots nicely into another period of overarching mainstream pop sensibility - for good or bad.

The record opens with ‘Connection’ a highly rhythmic song with radio-friendly choruses which will impress the likes of Radio 1 et al. The melody is strong and the sounds are as sharp as a razor as Pritchard reveals his efforts to engage a young female on the dance floor:

I don’t have time and it’s Friday night
Been sleeping with two eyes open looking for you, for you
The kind of girl who won’t apologize
Something cool in her oceans washes over you, over you
And I’m just trying to catch her eyes
Her blue jeans don’t fit quite right, she smiles
Yeah she smiles

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It’s a good start and a strong sign as to what follows.’Cold Heart’ communicates a similar message although with a funkier, more assertive beat. I can imagine this spreading like a plague on dance floors. But the surprise comes when it eventually re-emerges as a slow ballad. Interesting! ‘Jesse James’ is next and again offers a distinctive rhythm with a strong back-beat. Lyrically, it poses questions for me:

Jesse James got it all wrong
It’s not about the swan song
You gotta live like the day will never end
You gotta live and never pretend

Genghis Kahn was not the only one
To try and rule the world from his home phone
That’s no way to be a real guy
She tries to tell me all the time

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Then along comes ‘Closer’ which generates more interest through its rather adventurous opening and a vocal performance that travels the musical scales. It’s performed with passion and offers more than a modicum of meaning, along with some pleasant instrumental moments and arguably the strongest melody here. The darker ‘Sailing On A Dream’ offers a more jagged vibe with a vocal that travels at talking pace before bursting forth in choruses. The combination of rocky and more melancholy moments endears the song to me.

‘Modern Days’ offers a rockier vibe albeit with a touch of reggae thrown in for good measure. It’s different and more than pleasant. ‘Oasis’ is another rhythmic arrow that hits the mark and rumbles along with a strong dance beat and decent lyrics:

You make me see things I never thought were possible
I feel free, I feel so irresponsible
Dancing in the mirror, look at what a state I’m in
How can I be the one to take you home

Because you make this place feel like an oasis
Yeah, you put the smile on all of these faces

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Fans will love this record while radio will seek out the more catchy tunes. The final slow and beautiful acoustic song ‘Without A Doubt (features Neiked) adds sonic diversity and a fitting end to an entertaining record.

3.5/5

‘Jesse James’ Video: https://youtu.be/RM6CNKVmEbw
‘Connection’ Video: https://youtu.be/7SXyPwP9uGQ

https://thekooks.com/

Track Listings

1  Connection
2  Cold Heart
3  Jesse James
4  Closer
5  Sailing On A Dream
6  Beautiful World - The Kooks & Milky Chance
7  Modern Days
8  Oasis
9  25
10 Without A Doubt - The Kooks feat. NEIKED


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