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The Kooks

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    The Kooks

    inside in, inside out konk

    Inside In, Inside Out( 2006 )
    Seaside / See The World / Sofa Song / Eddie's Gun / Ooh La / You Don't Love Me / She Moves In Her Own Way / Match Box / Naive / I Want You Back / If Only / Jackie Big Tits / Time Awaits / Got No Love

    The Kooks hail from Brighton, home of many a fine British guitar band of the past five or six years. The Kooks are teenagers and share teenage concerns and haven't tried to write a rock opera covering the life and times of Jim Morrison, but transported, so you know, it's all about drugs and modern life in the ghettos of Britain. Pardon? What, lots of Ghettos in Sheffield isn't there? No, just lots of idiots with knives and ecstacy. Mixing punk rock with part of the lyrical style of The Streets has inexplicably elevated Sheffields Arctic Monkeys way ahead of The Kooks in the 'importance' stakes. Arctic Monkeys can apparently change the world. The Kooks can 'only' write damn good pop/rock songs, with the emphasis on indie. The world is not enough. Arctic Monkeys will die another day. Octopussy! The Living Daylights, man, that was a theme tune!! Anybody remember A-Ha? Handsome fellows who wrote a couple of the best songs of the entire nineteen eighties. Yes, that much is true. We can all get snobby sometimes and try to categorise bands and singers into merely 'good' and 'bad', with everything popular going into the 'bad' pile. One only has to take a look at some of the ratings on the 'Rate Your Music' web-site. Dark, Swedish death-metal is apparently all the rage, these days. The very highest art-form! Thus, The Kooks quietly and without very many inches of N.M.E hype, begin to sell records. They release singles that increase their fanbase. That, added to word of mouth, spreads their fame and more and more people across the country start to listen to the album. A good old-fashioned slow-burner. Yet, the music contained on the album is superbly crafted pop music and focuses on very everyday concerns. At least, when you're young. Older people ( i'm 32! ) can get snobby and nod their heads and dismiss the 'ska' influenced tracks here as mere Bob Marley and Clash wet dreams. Yet, loads of seventeen year olds actually listen to both of those bands, so what's up with that?

    The Kooks have a grasp of pop music then, mix it with indie guitar, remind some people of Supergrass ( although that's a very lazy comparison ) and have made a damn fine debut LP. A few choice moments to mention right about now, then? 'See The World' is catchier than burnt skin in the summer, 'Time Awaits' sounds weirdly more authentic that a dozen albums by Gomez, a nice little acoustic number that turns into a foot stomper, complete with ska rhythms and ace vocals. 'She Moves In Her Own Way', 'Eddies Gun' and 'You Don't Love Me' are all absolutely ace pop songs. Pop music doesn't have to be 50 Cent, Crazy Frog and Mary J Blige. Pop music used to be bands with guitars. Nobody ever said The Kooks were going to be another Beatles. The N.M.E almost did say Arctic Monkeys were going to be another Beatles. Well, at least another Oasis. Who themselves were copies of Stone Roses and The Beatles. Everything somehow needs to be important. The Kooks are probably one of the most unimportant bands in the country. Yet, they are great, and that's quiet enough for me, at least.

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    Konk( 2008 )
    See The Sun / Always Where I Need To Be / Mr. Maker / Do You Wanna / Gap / Love It All / Stormy Weather / Sway / Shine On / Down To The Market / One Last Time / Tick Of Time

    Is it just me or have The Kooks suddenly become very annoying? Papers like The Times and The Guardian have spoken 'knowingly' about The Kooks way with melody - The Kooks milkman pleasing way with a tune, if you will. Besides, if you're going to invite Kinks komparisons by naming your kalbum kafter a kinks studio, then kat least make a song like 'Mr Maker' a little bit lyrically interesting. At least try, just a little, to be distinctive and not just rely on lazy chords. Of course, The Kooks do have a way with melody on occasion, everybody has just written that for the sake of it. The album is somewhat uneven in quality, but we can't have everything and to be charitable, this is only their second LP and there is still plenty of time left for them to develop. So, 'Love It All' is a wonderful mid-tempo pop ballad, it's under three minutes in length and will go down a storm during the summer festival season, of that there's no doubt. 'Always Where I Need To Be' storms out of the speakers sounding rather exciting... until the singer arrives. I know why they've suddenly become annoying. It's his voice! It never, ever changes, song to song. If it fails to change, we'll all simply become sick of the sound of it. Vary the key, vary the bloody key Kooks!

    So, more vocals for 'Down To The Market' which would be another sub-three minute delight but it's ruined by the singers voice which just has no other mode than out and out one-dimensional pop. You could say the same for the music, but there's no doubting this groups ability to craft easy to assimilate melodies. I would point out at this stage that The Kooks debut album is available in the Zavvi sale for 3.99. Clearly, someone has lots of unsold stock. Funnily enough, you never see the Laura Marling album in a sale and likewise, the recently issued Dennis Wilson remaster? Well, that was sold out. Stock stuff people actually like then Zavvi, and you might make a bit more money. 'Konk' overall then tries too hard to please, I think. They needed to progress, just slightly even, to keep the interest of the more casual music fan. That they've failed to do so, even as much as The Beatles did between 'Please Please Me' and 'With The Beatles' might just suggest The Kooks won't have a long-term future after all.

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    Readers Comments

    Neal Grosvenor Toronto
    I just listened to this for the first time, and it's not bad. Have yet to hear their debut, so I'll have to get that soon. This album though, reminds me of a Canadian band The Marble Index's "Watch Your Candles, Watch Your Knives", but I think the latter is better. Track it down and give it a spin if you want to hear what Konk could've been.

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    this page last updated 19/09/10

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