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Album review: The Kooks - Let's Go Sunshine

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“We’re just having a good time, honey” - the first and last words sang on The Kooks’ brand new album, Let’s Go Sunshine.

Brighton born and raised, The Kooks are an indie heritage band. We respect and listen to their words and anthems, reminiscing about the times when we were drinking Red Stripe at a festival swaying to 'She Moves In Her Own Way'. They are key players in the formation of the British indie-rock genre that as a nation, we are hailed for and continuously inspire new bands to join.

Their last album The Best Of… So Far disappointed us. These guitar legends promised new music that would bring back the nostalgia of Inside In/Inside Out but it just didn’t hit the mark we all needed after the incredible masterpiece of Listen. We needed to see the lads mature, bring back their hooks but with a new flair, and thankfully in 2018, we got it.

Album opener 'All The Time' is atmospheric, vivacious and refreshing. Luke Pritchard’s voice seeps into the record with his surly vocals, telling us “I want you to be here / All the time” mixed with classic Kooks catchy drum beat and a high pitch hook. Straight into 'Believe' - the rock inspiration mysteriously creeps into the opening bars of the track with a 4 chord intro for a more professional pop song than perhaps their previous records. 

They haven’t lost touch with their acoustic roots, proving their eternal affiliation on 'Honey Bee'; a cute little 2-minute melody with 2-3 acoustic guitars chiming in and Pritchard's romantic affection “I love you…”. Similarly, in 'Fractured and Dazed' love is a key undercurrent to the romanticised view of the afternoon: “I’ll never give your, your love away / Remember love, remember love / When it was so fractured and dazed?”.

Pritchard has love in his eyes and it’s transferred to his heart and soul. The melody in this track makes it a favourite of the album, combining electric guitar to the soul of the acoustic and a couple of high note piano chimes to finish off the vocals “never give you up, so so fractured and dazed”. The brief pause at the end opens to a 40 second instrumental of piano, drums, guitar and electric to show us that the Kooks are in no way finished with their musical exploration of the diversity of guitars in at their disposal. 

'Pamela' sits in the record as their soft rock tune, but without any of the experimental lyricism of previous tracks. This is perhaps a lesser acclaimed track from the new album, but a sign of their progression away from what their younger, more pop-orientated audience want so desperately to hear.

Much to our delight, the final song of the record is a classic Kooks anthem: “We’re just having a good time, honey / No need to apply / No pressure”, inviting each and every one of us to release any pent-up frustrations and tension in a feelgood singalong. The final track shows us that The Kooks themselves have had enough of the mounting pressure from fans to recreate their original tracks, and are telling us they want to have a good time and simply do things they enjoy. That’s a motto I’ll happily live by.

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