The Kooks



by robin EMERITUS
May 18th, 2008 | 6 replies

Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Pleasant, only now the promise is gone.

Whenever musical acts reject everything they have been known to offer, there’s always a tendency for danger. The safety net is destroyed with a new sound, and a different bearing is issued. Even if everything is clinically executed, a number of previously adoring fans may move on with disappointed outlooks. Although, if an artist is just going to put out an album for the sake of the exact same listening experience, it’s an almost certain outcome that they’ll be left with a similar amount of followers. So why, when the potential is stripped away with the second difficult album, are The Kooks trying to conceal themselves in the supposed mirror Konk"

Just observing the title it’s natural to gauge the simplicity of the group’s latest effort. While quirky on the outside, the title loses its edge as it is explained as being named after the studio in London where the album was recorded - the inventive nuance is lost immediately. Furthermore, a double-disc release with seven pieces of new material is to be named RAK – again the studio that spurred the latest numbers. Perhaps this leaves fans something to worry about – an early indication of writer’s block.

To the album’s credit, it disproves the blatant theories it’s excessively burdened with - citied with suspicions of unimaginative, repetitive uselessness. Coming off the back of their debut album, Inside In/Inside Out, there was no way the band could have enclosed themselves in similarities without receiving bitter ‘tribute-band’ references; so many losing interest in assuming the album would be the same bouncy, fun record – and thus squandering both characteristics at the same time. Indeed, the foundations Inside In/Inside Out assured were as much a learning curve as a downfall for the band. Some moments - whether accidentally on purpose, or fully intended – can better the band’s predecessor easily. “See The Sun” opens the album neatly, building on booming, sweeping guitar that feels spaced out, dominating the song to brag some catchiness. While it does nothing new for the genre (nor even for the band itself) it is arguably rare proof that the band is not trying to mimic their old sound, but trying to polish it into a more exciting outing. “Always Where I Need To Be” continues the bursting early stages of the album, with a typically memorable chord progression carrying Pritchard’s questionable vocals stating I always thought/I would end up with you, eventually.

This may be far from innovative, but by the end of Konk no-one will be complaining. As the album is rushed into a resolution, “Tick Of Time” estranges the band’s trademark sound entirely for the worse. Inaptly titled, the relaxed track feels tuneless, with irritating laughing and background musings feeling like a kick in the face as the song becomes spoilt by its barely accomplished acoustic riffs and telling lyrics Get out this situation and feel fine – ruining not only itself, but in the process the tone of the album.

At the other, extreme end of the spectrum, “Do You Wanna” feels like a plea for something original; a failed attempt at being sleazy with clichéd and laughable lyrics Do you wanna/Do you wanna/Do you wanna make love to me causes the band finally to become a parody of themselves, only salvaged by its radio-friendly pseudo-aggressive nature. But four tracks into an album that has done nothing but that thus far, does anyone really want another anthem" Therein, does anyone really want a hurried, uninspired ending" Bland “Down To Market” feels as if it has been done before on the album far too much, with its loud, sneaky sharp guitar having an identical essence to it as every other track on the album. “One Last Time” presents capability and becomes the closest thing to a decent acoustic track – however it’s over so soon that it can never come miraculously to life.

It’s just harder now to ascertain The Kooks now. When the promise was so brilliantly mapped and abruptly discouraged by critics and fans alike, you can’t help but ponder if Konk will divert The Kooks from some budding talent, or just verify that they’ve ran out of steam already – if their album titles aren’t already a worrying giveaway. While it has saving graces, and is not simply an attempt at a carbon copy of the debut that put the band in such accepted esteem, it definitely signals a weary, perturbed band with little ambition.

Recent reviews by this author
Jeff Rosenstock Worry.Okkervil River Away
Oren Ambarchi, Kassel Jaeger, James Rushford Pale CallingHuerco S For Those of You Who Have Never...
The Mountain Goats Get LonelyThe Smith Street Band Throw Me in the River
user ratings (250)

Comments:Add a Comment 
June 16th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

I personally loved this album. On first listen I was disapointed but it grew on me...and now I think it's definitely as good if not better than their first album.

One thing that pisses me off is everyone ragging on Do You Wanna it's a fun catchy song...and what the hell is wrong with that chorus?

It's fine when AC/DC, Aerosmith, and The Stones use simple sleazy lyrics in a chorus...but not when a new band does it. Then there poor writers? People need to lighten up take the stick out of their ass and enjoy some rock and roll.

August 27th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

Massively disappointed with this one. Really, Inside In Inside Out is quite possibly my favourite Indie record of the past five years. Fair to say I wanted more than what Konk has offered. Still love the band though and would love to see them live.

I thought that your summary perfectly summed-up my feelings towards this album.

August 27th 2008


yeah... this grows away every listen. "always where i need to be" is still worth listening to though. bah.

December 15th 2008


Its grown on me

October 5th 2009


Hmm, I really like Tick of Time.

October 22nd 2009


Album Rating: 4.0

i like this better than inside in/inside out.

You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2017
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy