“Consider the lilies” said Brian in Life of Brian only for a member of his audience to heckle, “He’s having a go at the flowers now”.
We feel the same about The Kooks; what can you say? The music might be bland but they’ve made a career and have got a strong fanbase who doubtless resent criticism …. “‘E’s ‘aving a go at the The Kooks now…”
A bit like Scouting For Girls, their longevity is a surprise but like SFG they stick with their fans: they have 318,000 Twitter followers but often reply directly, thanking an Indonesian fan for buying the album, agreeing with Holly they’re excited about the new release and congratulating Ayisha for her GCSE results.
Other reviews say The Kooks have been stagnating and this new album is a departure of sorts, but while it’s a bit more indie/garage than we might have expected, it’s still no more than a set of pleasant pop tunes. Writing any pleasant pop tune is hard, mind, but compare this with Weezer’s recent Pacific Daydream, which, despite being criticised by some, is a masterclass in memorable pop song-writing.
Like Weezer, though, there are no fancy tricks on Let’s Go Sunshine, just pop hooks and harmony. If only they were memorable.
The tracks often hark to other genres: opener Kids nods distantly to grunge, All The Time to 80s synth pop (early Japan sprang to mind). Believe (which waves at Weezer from afar) is pretty good, as is Fractured And Dazed, a decent pop tune that’ll sound good on the radio. Four Leaf Clover is The Kooks of old, and the splendidly named Tesco Disco is not bad. Closer No Pressure is a jaunty tune that stares hard at Oasis’s Half the World Away before stealing the riff and speeding it up a bit.
For all the good ones, there are a handful of average tracks, and the baffling Chicken Bone, a decent enough tune with the lyric “I don’t drink alone / I got a big fun woman at home / She calls me chicken bone / And then she rolls me like a stone”. Is this meant to appeal to their more cuddly fans? Probably one for The Kooks aficionados only.