The Kooks – Let’s Go Sunshine

There's a nagging stench of ‘real music’ present in the many meandering ballads and acoustic troubadour vignettes.
Label: Lonely Cat / AWAL Recordings
Released: 31st August 2018
Rating: ★★

The Kooks have turned out to be one of the most enduring of the mid-noughties wave of indie stars, and they’re enjoying yet another purple patch as they return with their fifth album ‘Let’s Go Sunshine’.

If you’ve ever been a fan of The Kooks’ breezy indie, Luke Pritchard and co. have delivered pretty much everything you would want from them across 15 tracks; anyone who hasn’t previously fallen for their charms though may struggle to get much more out of it. 

Despite its strong hooks and general easygoing nature, the lack of variety becomes increasingly apparent. This could have been a short, sharp refreshing burst of melodic joy had they kept it to a shorter length but in striving to put everything out there they’ve delivered The Kooks in excelsis but feel like they’re catering for the already converted masses.

The highlights indicate just how The Kooks have prospered for so long. The rollicking, rockabilly of ‘Honey Bee’ is great fun while the punky ‘Pamela’ is a welcome burst of energy. Elsewhere, the nagging stench of ‘real music’ is present in the many meandering ballads and acoustic troubadour vignettes. Sometimes it works, as on the soaring ‘Swing Low’, but the deep reflection of something like ‘Believe’ with its philosophical musings like “I’m not a body, i’m a soul” are tiresome rather than inspiring.

In a world where bands like The 1975 and Wolf Alice are taking indie music to a next level and making real statements, The Kooks’ refusal to shake things up and stick to their melodic charms is either admirable or foolish. They’re still here though, and ‘Let’s Go Sunshine’ isn’t going to anything to change that.

Martyn Young

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