Ragged And Irresistible Hooks: The Kooks’ Inside In/Inside Out

The Kooks
Inside In/Inside Out
Astralwerks

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The Kooks’ debut Inside In/Inside Out is a wild bash of an album with all the youthful velocity of The Jam or early Oasis. Britpop has been a bit low on heroes in the past decade, but this Brighton outfit very well may be the heavyweights the genre has been looking for.

While The Kooks pad their CV at home (a #2 double platinum album and five highly charting singles), time will tell if America will take to them the way they did the Gallagher brothers back in the early ‘90s. It shouldn’t be a difficult proposition as the fourteen tracks here are brimming with the kind of irresistible hooks and big choruses that sound legendary right out of the box.

“See The World” is an invigorating blast of ragged pop; “You Don’t Love Me” is a pounding winner and the howl of “If Only” is impossible to resist. So the boys have energy, that much is clear, but the Kooks are more than just a power pop band. Singer Luke Pritchard has all the sting of a more ragged McCartney (“Ooh Lah”) and he inhabits a song with preternatural musical smarts. Witness the album closer (“Got No Love”) where Pritchard stretches out and warns, “Don’t let them bring you down” in the casual cadence of a man who’s been brought down himself.

Sure, The Kooks’ influences are abound–“Sofa Song” sounds like a pepped up version of The Cure and the acoustic shuffle of “She Moves In Her Own Way” summons the Kinks–but they have such roar, such energizing bravado, they never sound derivative. Who else can take a number like “Time Awaits” and turn it from the blues to reggae then have the nerve to drench it all in the end with a dose of squeaky feedback?

That’s what I’m talking about.