Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Kooks: Konk

Written by Fantasma el Rey

The Kooks are back with their sophomore release Konk, delivering more of the same rocking brit-pop that helped them sell millions of copies of their debut album throughout the world. The lads deliver twelve new tracks that swing and sway from the opening vocals to the closing guitar strum. The Kooks (Luke Pritchard vocals, Hugh Harris guitar, Max Rafferty bass, Paul Garred drums) continue to write their own songs and perform them with a flair all their own.

Fueled by catchy guitars hooks, a solid, funky rhythm section and Pritchard’s unique vocals, The Kooks never stop driving the pace of their songs straight to your memory. Their songs are short and to the pop point, making them easy to store, even though some of the new tunes tap the four-minute mark! The music gets you moving and the simple lyrics force you to sing while the vocals make you feel the tune as you take it all in. The songcraft skills of these young men are awesome. As I’ve said before, these kats at masters of the pop song while remaining true to their rock roots.

The sound of Konk, recorded at Ray Davies’ Konk studios, keeps to the path taken on The Kooks debut album Inside In / Inside Out. Blending perfectly the Beatles/ Kinks 60’s vibe with the Smiths/ Morrissey 80’s dance-floor feel. “Always Where I Need To Be” hints at Moz’s “First Of the Gang To Die” in its guitar runs while “Gap” and “Love It All” bring images of Smith’s guitar-slinger Johnny Marr to mind. Keeping the groove alive are “Do You Wanna” and “Stormy Weather,” both are drum filled and bass thick, begging you to hit the local dance hall, especially the mean bass intro on “Stormy Weather,” which has nothing to do with the street-corner, vocal group staple song.

“Mr. Maker,” “Tick Of Time,” and the bonus hidden track “All Over Town” bring in a rockin’ country/folk-sounding acoustic guitar and loses absolutely nothing as far as push and drive are concerned. The Kooks never really slow the pace of Konk even though “Tick Of Time” and “All Over Town” are quiet ballads.

Rounding out the CD are “See The Sun,” “Sway,” “Shine On,” “Down To The Market,” and “One Last Time.” From start to finish The Kooks second CD doesn’t let up, holding your interest with each song. There is also a bonus disc, Rak, that is available as a companion to Konk and is only offered in physical format and in limited quantities. It looks to be a cool collection of songs recorded that did not make the album and alternate/ demo versions of a few of the Konk tracks.

Konk is one of those albums that I can play over and over again, never skipping tracks and often pressing the repeat button to hear one of my favorite tunes just one more time before I shut the stereo off. I’m glad I took a chance on these Brits over a year ago on their first outing and look forward to what they have in store for their next album. Could it be, seeing that it will be the third album that The Kooks will follow other great rock bands of the past and put out what we like to call the “departure record?” Who can say? All I know is that it will find its way into my collection no matter what.

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