Sunday, June 10, 2007
The Kooks-Pure Pop
I first heard of The Kooks last summer on the blog I Am Fuel, You Are Friends (which all three of us are huge fans of) when Heather posted a little 4 song Kooks sampler (Naive, Sofa Song; Crazy, and California). I quickly absorbed the four songs and listened to them non-stop. I tried to order the album, but for some reason it was only available on import from Japan (I think) and cost around $40...so despite the awesomeness of the tracks, I passed. A few months later, a very special lady somehow got their debut cd, Inside In/Inside Out for me...hopefully not having paid $40 to buy it from a Japanese bookstore. But now, the album is available stateside, through the convenient medium of itunes, and I'm here to tell you about it.
The album is 18 tracks of rockin pop tunes, all with catchy guitar riffs, bold vocals from lead singer Luke Pritchard, and appealing lyrics telling tales of these barely 20 year-old (or younger) band-mates' nights out and the girls they meet in their native town of Brighton, England. Apparently these guys are all the rave in Britain, and are starting to make some noise in the states as well (sold out all of their U.S. shows on their current tour). Their big singles overseas are Sofa Song and Eddie's Gun. Both are very good representations of the type of sound you'll get from The Kooks on this album. Both feature strong guitars at the forefront and Luke yelping about trying to get under girls dresses. The single I've heard floating around certain radio stations in the U.S. is "Naive," which offers more of the same of this successful formula.
But beyond the singles, there are plenty of other tremendous tracks in this 18-song burst of energy. "She Moves In Her Own Way," slows down the tempo and intensity (and adds a bit of hand-clapping) for another catchy number. The next track, "Matchbox," picks it back up a notch, but also shows evidence of the band's wide array of influences when they slip in a little reggae feel to the middle of the song.
And it's this last point, the wide array of influences, that I think intrigues me most about this band. They claim to listen to everything from Marvin Gaye to Gnarls Barkley (aforementioned "Crazy" is a cover of the Gnarls Barkley hit), and Pritchard claims that their next album will attempt to include every genre, no exclusions. Also, the fact that every member of the band shares the songwriting load ensures that the songs won't stay static.
And if none of these reasons convince you to buy the album, consider this: the one cover they have on the album is Mason Jennings' "California." A Britpop band that covers a folksy crooner like our boy Mason Jennings? I take that as a good sign. On their website, Pritchard says when pop is good "there's nothing better." The Kooks make good pop.