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By Charlie David Page
28th August 2014

Three years may seem like a long time between albums in the music industry, but The Kooks have been busy since they released 2011's 'Junk Of The Heart'. They've changed drummers, found a new producer, and experimented with new genres. Now, the wait for their new music is over, and they're asking just one thing: 'Listen'.

The Kooks did something really unusual with this album - they released a pre-emptive EP, featuring many of the best songs beforehand. This was a cool, clever move; they were toying with a distinctively new sound, and wanted to ease fans into it. And for me, it worked - I couldn't wait to hear what else was in store.

The sound of 'Listen' is what I like to call new-time rock 'n' roll: a classic sound, but with a modern twist. Working with producer Inflo, the band has drawn influence from hip hop, melded with a traditional flavour of rock. What you get is a selection of damn catchy tunes, presented in an aurally diverse album.


If you're familiar with the 'Down' EP, all your favourite powerhouse songs are present and accounted for. 'Around Town' kicks off the album, with its hefty choral reinforcement providing an exulting introduction. That's followed up with 'Forgive & Forget' - the album version featuring a neat little intro and outro, but still as enamouring a tune as ever, with its funky beat and crafty lyrics. And of course, heavy-hitter 'Down', with its opulent bass guitar and catchy hand-claps; its secret is its simplicity.

Don't be left thinking that's the best of the album. 'Westside' is a catchy love song with a 80s-inspired electronic beat. 'See Me Now' is singer Luke Pritchard's ode to his father, whom he lost at a young age; I can imagine its solitary piano opening being received spectacularly in an arena venue. The boys have brought to life the 2011 UK riots with 'It Was London', whilst paying homage to the 60s protest rock tunes. 'Bad Habit' is a groovy beat advanced by a wild drum beat, captivating electric guitar and thrashing tambourine.

The sound of 'Listen' is new-time rock 'n' roll: a classic sound, but with a modern twist.

This is a big album, in every meaning of the word. The songs are so vibrant and affecting, it's close to impossible not to thoroughly get into this LP. This is music that will become immediately familiar to you, and remain with you in a way music doesn't these days. It's a stellar effort from the band, who have put a lot on the line to change their tune - which they have triumphantly succeeded in doing. 'Listen' is fresh and nostalgic all at once, and one of the most exciting offerings I've heard in a long while.

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BAND: The Kooks
MEMBERS: Luke Pritchard - Vocals, Guitar, Piano
Hugh Harris - Guitar, Keyboard
Peter Denton - Bass
Alexis Nunez - Drums
FORMED: 2001
FROM: Brighton, England
FACEBOOK: thekooksofficial
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