Review Summary: Expect big things from The Kooks in the future. For now, take this as a sign of intent.
The Kooks have balls. Call it the brazenness of youth, or Brighton, there's no denying that Luke Pritchard (please, please refrain from Star Trek jokes) and his just out of jumpers band of merry men... boys, are a confident bunch. Inside In/Inside Out
is more than just a debut album for The Kooks. It's the sign of big things to come from a band that has already sold over 1.5 million copies of a record that was released just over a year ago.
Frankly, the UK is just bursting at the seams with a wave of new, post-Britpop, not-Coldplay bands. The View, The Fratellis, The Horrors - all ascribing to an urban sensibility with the disclaimer of heavy accents, FOUR-chord riffs and enough innuendo for you to maintain your very own dictionary of metaphors and narratives. And where one band becomes 'cliche', another becomes 'revival'. It's a confusing scene that could do with a little shake-up once in a while. The Kooks manage to fulfill that seemingly light ask with a Supergrass-esque panache that one wouldn't necessarily expect from a band this young.
Where this south-England quartet manage to make a mark is the discerning ear with which they write their music. Acoustic entrances coupled with pre-13-Blur-ish melodies are, though somewhat derivative, surprisingly refreshing when Pritchard's enthusiastic swagger is added to the concoction. The album opener, Seaside
, is a wonderful acoustic piece and influences the way the rest of the album is going to be heard in a way not many Track No.1's are able to. With Seaside
The Kooks lay their cards flat on the table and deliver an loud announcement of intent that's confident and strong.
Pritchard doesn't have the stylish swagger of his counterparts and may be guilty of being a little conservative. It's pleasantly ironical given that the statement he intends to make is anything but. The only track where he really lets go is the terribly infectious If Only
which is also the best song on this brisk dash of an album. Jackie Big Tits
follows, and though the title may reflect an exaggerated juvenility, the track is one of the best on the record.
The band is not afraid to experiment. They liberally throw in reggae melodies to their pop-rock hooks, giving them another facet of personality that is strangely unique. However, there is a lot that the band needs to give attention to as well. Though the direction they have taken is fairly exciting, their enthusiasm betrays them on occasions. Their biggest single Naive
is a poor imitation of an Alex Band/Carlos Santana single and is plain pop with an unimaginative riff; absolutely no indication of what the band is about. The lyrics department could also do with a little help. Songs like the floaty Got No Love
, though clearly well thought out in terms of their instrumental execution, leave much to be desired in terms of wordplay. These signs, though few and far between, promise better delivery on what will undoubtedly be a mature sophomore release.
Forgive The Kooks for whatever little misplaced exuberance they display. Every once in a while there stumbles a band that either knowingly, or blindly, swims against the current, and if just for that ladies and gentlemen, give The Kooks 40 minutes of your time.