The Kooks – Down EP Review
The Kooks are back! After a two-year absence from the mainstream, the British Rock group is back, releasing their Down EP, and the respective single from it. The EP is released prior to their planned September 1 release of their 4th studio album Listen. Coming with a blues-rock sound coupled with R&B flavours and the unmistakable British twang of Luke Pritchard on vocals.
“Down” is an unmistakably catchy tune, with the sort of funky swagger required to shine in todays mainstream market. Despite the slight change from the bands previous work, it manages to capture the enjoyment the band has in making music. The R&B influence it has makes it easy listening, and in the less than three minutes it hooks you with a catchy pop chorus. “Hooray for Henry” is much more typical of The Kooks, right from the word go the punchy percussive beat coupled with a gorgeous blues riff and typical modern rock techniques will please those who were originally taken aback by the differences of “Down”. A clever refrain makes the chorus memorable, and the deep tones of Pritchard’s vocals provide a lovely contrast in the breaks. To follow is a fast tempo’d reggae inspired track in “Hold On”. Scintillating guitar work from Hugh Harris, a gorgeous falsetto from Pritchard and a perfectly coupled rhythm section ensures your ears are well pleased through the entire song. The final taste of what The Kooks have in store is a soft acoustic track more attuned to their earlier work. “Melody Maker” shows the range that the band has, taking a simplistic approach to counteract the experimentation on the rest of the EP. Again, clever and insightful lyrics and a beautiful British vocal style reminds you that The Kooks have the cleverness and guile to please everyone in a hard market.
Although perhaps not to the hardcore British Rock fan’s taste, this effort from The Kooks shows the world that the group is serious about what they do. The courage shown to break out of their typical sound proves that they want to be recognized as more than just a one trick pony, and the rock genre should be thankful for it. If these 4 songs are anything to go by, Listen should be an album well worth listening to, seeing if they can marry the sounds they’ve explored in this EP.