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The Kooks – Konk

Released on Astralwerks, 4/15/08

I first came across The Kooks whilst traveling through Byron Bay on Australia’s East Coast in the back of a Combi Van. Whilst shopping for surf wax, I noticed a compilation album called Coastal Chill 2007. As "chill" was perhaps the best way to describe our location, and the eclectic crowd that had gathered for the annual blues and roots festival Blues Fest, I bought a copy -- and literally "fell in love at the seaside"…with The Kooks.

Aged only between 21 and 23, these blokes from Brighton, England, are back with their second album, Konk, a pleasing hybrid of clap-happy pop, rock, a touch of punk and some relatively mellow beats that make The Kooks a lot of fun to be around. As their name suggests, The Kooks, consisting of lead singer and rhythm guitarist Luke Pritchard, bassist Dan Logan, lead guitarist Hugh Harris and drummer Paul Garred, are quirky and hard to pin down to a specific genre. Often compared to other noteworthy Brits including The Beatles and Oasis, it is perhaps The Kinks, and the blessing of Kink’s front man Ray Davis that has provided the biggest influence. Konk is even named after Davis’ Konk Studios where the band recorded their latest effort.

Pritchard’s accent in the majority of songs is unmistakably English -- even somewhat Alex Turner-like. However in tunes like the love-sick “Gap”, there are equal parts The Police combining a higher, echoey pitch with a slightly reggae beat. “Love it All” is upbeat, dreamy and romantic. The acoustic melody, combined with Harris’ bluesy riffs on the electric guitar, perfectly compliment the mellow tone of the lyrics. “Tick of Time” summons The Beatles' knack for harmony. Not unlike the humor made famous by the Fab Four, the song starts with the band laughing about making a mistake and then quickly leads into a toe-tapping acoustic melody accompanied by a tambourine and lots of style.

The album’s clear standout is “Shine On”, a melodic love poem that makes you want to dance rather than reach for the Kleenex. Garred’s excessively chill cymbal and drum beats at the beginning of the song automatically set the tone, and when Pritchard croons “about your hair, you needn't care, you look beautiful all the time,” you can’t help but get swept away,

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars