‘Listen’ Brings The Kooks Back Into Rock Glory

There must be something to the new Kooks album title, Listen, as if it is an ultimatum to the fans to give the British rock band a second chance: listen before you judge.  Listen is the band’s fourth studio album, and with it came a slightly different line-up, different producer, and overall different sound.


Longtime fans were divided when the band released the first single off the album in April, “Down,” but listening to the album as a whole, “Down” fits well into the diverse aesthetic Luke Pritchard (vocals, guitar), Hugh Harris (guitar), Peter Denton (bass), and Alexis Nunez (drums) created. Pritchard, who co-produced the album along with hip-hip producer Inflo and Fraser T Smith, calls the sound “electric church music.”

Opening track “Around Town” epitomizes that sound. It centers around a gospel choir but also includes pop, R&B, and funk influences. The entire album, though, feels like a blast from the past. “It Was London” sounds like an ode to the British Invasion of the 60’s. The song and another one from the album, “Bad Habit,” feature guitar riffs reminiscent of The Beatles classic rock phase, a la the White Album.

Tracks “Are We Electric” and “Sweet Emotion” take the vibe to the 70’s. “Are We Electric” is more disco, while “Sweet Emotion” is a blend of soul, R&B, and funk.

Most of Listen is fun and lighthearted, but it slows down on tracks “See Me Now” and “Dreams.” “See Me Now” is a raw, deeply personal piano ballad where Pritchard sings to his late father. “Dreams” is an ethereal-ish, synth confection, with beautiful harmonies that sound similar to Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

Listen brings a rejuvenation to pop rock music that was desperately needed, and continues to sound better after multiple listens. Let’s hope The Kooks maintain this creativity!

Take a listen to their single “Forgive & Forget” below!

1 Comment

  1. Devon O'Connor

    September 24, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    I absolutely love this album! “Bad Habit” is such a sweet track. Great review!

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