The Kooks showed themselves to be astute at composing
sing-along tunes with a flare for acoustic rock and country-tinged
folk moldings on their first release from Astralwerks entitled
Inside In/Inside Out. The British rock quartet has scored
a second round of their special brand of power pop with their
latest release Konk, produced by Tony Hoffer (Beck,
Air). Band members Luke Pritchard (lead vocals),
Hugh Harris (guitar), Max Rafferty (bass), and Paul
Garred (drums) are proficient at writing songs that bring
out the best in their playing. The songs have their limitations,
and though they don't go far from their center of acoustic rock
chromosomes, the band still makes each tune have its own rhythmic
lining and vocal persona. And topping each song are lyrics about
girls, girls, girls.
Though the songs lead in with a catchy toe tapping rhythmic loop
or shooting arrows of guitar etudes, the music is form-fitted
to Pritchard's vocals. The folds of harmonizing phrases in tracks
like "See The Sun" and "Always Where I Need To
Be" are wired nicely, so the melodies roll easily like the
cloudy froth of whipped cream layered on top of a soufflé.
Every track has a melodic rock diorama which shows traces of folk-rock
sierras moat by Brit-pop hoops. The chord shifts create sloops
and highs like in "Mr. Maker" creasing the melody with
natural quivers and a free-flowing momentum. Although the songs
share a likeness to a number of other bands on the market, The
Kooks have a distinguishable sound, which keeps them on the same
island as the others, but sections them off, carving out their
own quarter. Much like when you hear Regina Spektor and
know that it is her, when you hear The Kooks, you know it is them.
Their music is recognizable and appeases an innate sense of melodic
tunage built into humans. The band never sways into being extremely
wild or extremely sedate, they keep to a middle ground like in
"Shine On" and "Tick Of Time" where all ends
connect like they are from the same family. The songs are rhythmically
sturdy and keep to a code of being aurally pleasing, which The
Kooks have perfected in their playing.
If The Kooks were compared to a speed skater, they would be like
Apolo Anton Ohno who wins some races and loses some but
is always identifiable and people are happy with his performance.
Folk, rock, Brit-pop, and country is a combination that many people
don't believe can be compatible, but half way through Konk
and you are bound to be hooked.
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