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Suddenly sullen Kooks produce a limp effort

Rating: 4 / 10

Patrick Freyne, 17 Apr 2008

Sullen and boppy at the same time. I’m confused.

Why are The Kooks so sullen? They’re young. They’re famous. They’ve got bouncy hair. They even write music which contains a Chas ‘n’ Dave-style spring in its step and a jerky Dick Van Dyke shoulder waggle.

In fact the music is often so damn cheeky that it would be disqualified as ‘indie’ if not for the band’s moppy haircuts and scowls. Yet singer Pritchard seems a little bit down all the time in a Kevin The Teenager sort of way. His voice seems to be set to permawhine. In ‘Do You Wanna?’ this is particularly funny. “Do you wanna make love to me?” he groans onanistically. I keep expecting him to add “Ah come on... Pleeeese! Pleeeese make love to me... why not? [stamping his foot now] why not make love to me?” But he doesn’t. Instead he gets assertive. “I know you wanna make love to me,” he whimpers. At this point I always roll around the floor kicking my legs in the air (because I’m laughing, not preparing for Luke Prichard to make love to me).

All in all this makes it difficult for me to take The Kooks very seriously. But, hand it to them, they can still put together good inoffensive pop music. ‘Shine On’ is pretty catchy, even though the lyrical sentiment’s jaded (for the last time, songwriters: people don’t shine! At best they reflect light. And sometimes when they’re wearing black they absorb it), and the last songs on the record ‘Tick Of Time’ and hidden track ‘All Over Town’ are a bit more ragged, and that seems to suit The Kooks better than the production polish elsewhere. Overall though – “Do you wanna make love to meee?” No thanks.

Key Track: ‘Tick of Time’

Rating: 4 / 10
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