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Album Review: The Kooks - 'Listen' PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sam Lightle   
17 09 2014
ImageIn the first instance ‘Listen' is rather strange and quite hard to call. From the days of living in Brighton and producing a number of hits including ‘Naive' and ‘She Moves In Her Own Way', The Kooks built up a steady indie following. 

But after a number of years of being out of the spotlight and with little to no new material, this LP really had to be good. In truth, it's completely different to their previous work and there are new sparks of a band changing with the times. In the beginning they rode through on a wave along with a number of other big indie compatriots but as the music world develops, The Kooks have seemingly floated with them. 

Lyrically it's good; in fact it's very good. Despite this band surfacing in the tail end of the Britpop era and in the early noughties, Luke Pritchard still has that Brit school edge about him. ‘See Me Now' is an emotive piano ballad that pulls on the heartstrings as the father who died in his childhood. 

Having said that, ‘Forgive & Forget' is a hardy track with a great chorus but I don't get the same enjoyment that I do with their previous classics. However, one thing it definitely does is look after the new funky direction the band are heading in. 

Give the band their due; ‘Listen' does include a number of belters such as ‘Around Town', which harbours a driving grooves that the likes of The Rolling Stones and The Clash would be proud of. While ‘Down' gives drummer Alexis Nunez an opportunity to show off his powerful intent throughout with an infectious drum beat. 

ImageOther tracks, ‘Are We Electric' and ‘Westside' both sees the introduction of electro-pop synths that are strikingly similar to that of The Killers, while in ‘Dreams' there is an alluring acoustic guitar which settles the heart. 

Overall it's an interesting album that leaves a lot to be desired. The Kooks are a fantastic band but I'm unsure whether they've really progressed in the last three years since their 2011 LP ‘Junk of the Heart', although that was also a catastrophic disaster as well.

Having said that I do need to give Pritchard credit as it's always a huge gamble when an artist experiments. Probably the Kooks fans will still appreciate and accept this album as it comes as a welcome release of new material. But it's far from the wow factor.

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