It’s been six years and we’re still trying to get the doo’s of “Always Where I Need To Be” out of our heads. Now it’s about to be replaced by eleven new ones.
The Kooks have always been pop-friendly, like so many other alt-rock bands, they’re adding a heavier dose of dance elements to their songs-with the help of hip ho producer Inflo. Now we’re getting songs that are fresh and funky, like “Around Town”, where angelic choruses gild the song’s hook, the quasi-disco “Forgive & Forget” and saucy ow’s of “Down”. Luke Pritchard’s brave falsetto gets braver, warbling like a theremin in “Are We Electric”.
He’s not alone, either. Soulful choruses are heavy on Listen, whether quietly triumphant (“See Me Now”) or accompanied by intense drumming (“Bad Habit”). ”It Was London” sounds like vintage Stones, rough guitar and blues lick accents, Prtichard’s snarl evoking Jagger. The simple, snappy “Sweet Emotion” wraps up the high-energy 39 minutes with muted beats and jazzy piano.
The Kooks have crafted a gorgeous album, worth not just one listen, but ten, at least.