Several years ago – three years ago to be exact -- I heard the song Junk Of The Heart by The Kooks. It was such a sweet, catchy song that I downloaded it immediately and sought out more music from this band that hails from Brighton, England. And just like that they went into a self-imposed hiatus. Three years between albums can feel like forever for music fans, but I’m used to waiting 5 years in-between new U2 albums, so my patience is strong. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t thrilled when The Kooks released their latest album, Listen.
Listen is their fourth full length album and the band went into new territory with the help of producer Inflow. The album opens up with a rousing gospel choir on the song Around Town. The use of the gospel choir and R&B influences can be heard throughout the record, but not in a gimmicky way. For a distinctively British sounding band, The Kooks display a lot of soul on this album. And I like it! There is no mistaking Listen for a Kooks album, but it’s nice to hear them take chances and the result is a fresh sounding album.
The Kooks are in the middle of a U.S. tour. The Gamer Geek and I had the pleasure of seeing them live for an acoustic performance and a jam-packed show at Denver’s Ogden Theater courtesy of our favorite indie radio station 103.9 RXP. We made a trip down to the radio station for the RXP Sound Stage set – it’s always a cool experience to hear a favorite band in an intimate setting with 20 other fans. What can I say…hearing tracks off of Listen with Luke Pritchard 6 feet away from me…pretty much music magic. Each song showcased The Kooks musicianship and I’m so pleased that RXP recorded/videotaped the session. You can check it out HERE!
The next night we saw The Kooks in Denver and it was one of the best shows I’ve seen this year. The Kooks are all business on stage – not a lot of chit-chat, just barreling through one song after another. Front man, Luke Pritchard, exudes so much charisma – he’s a combination of Elvis and Mick Jagger on stage. It’s impossible to resist his charm, but don’t let all that sex appeal take away from the fact that he’s a talented singer and songwriter moving flawlessly between rock anthems, acoustic guitar and piano ballads – he’s the real deal. Pritchard can command the stage thanks to the solid support of his bandmates Hugh Harris on guitar and keys, bassist Peter Denton, and percussionist Alexis Nunez. The crowd was with The Kooks for the whole show and when the band performed a three song encore The Ogden erupted into a frenzy.
The Kooks are finishing out the year touring in the U.S. and the UK, and then will head to Australia in the new year – do yourself a favor and go see them. You won’t be disappointed.
Let there be no mistake – The Kooks are back and better than ever!
The Kooks are Luke Pritchard, Hugh Harris, Peter Denton, and Alexis Nunez.
Essential Listening from Listen: Around Town (the video great BTW), Forgive & Forget, Westside, See Me Now (this song is a beautiful moment on the album and live), It Was London, Bad Habit, Down, Are We Electric (this song is currently MY JAM!)