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CD of The Week

Week of 9/10/18

    The Kooks - Let's Go Sunshine (AWAL)

    British indie rockers The Kooks have returned with their fifth studio album, Let's Go Sunshine, reaffirming their place in the genre.

    Never one to mince words, frontman Luke Pritchard continues to pull no punches in his songwriting. The album opens strong with an intro declaring the band is "just having a good time," then quickly transitions to the first full-length track, "Kids." Pritchard's signature vocals combined with the band's quirky melodies and driving beats immediately grab attention. It provides a poetic and justified message between the lyrics of "the kids are not alright" and the most definitive position of the song, "I'm not trying to be what you want me to be."

    Throughout the album, The Kooks deliver what they're known for - upbeat guitars and stinging melodies set to their unique blend of straightforward rock and the occasional slow jam. "All The Time" sees the band going in a slightly different direction before returning to form. This track is driven by a funky bass line and almost disco-esque drum beat before evolving into something more, incorporating piercing vocal harmonies and a cry of "I want you to be here all the time…I want you, just don't ask why." It's unapologetic in all its layers.

    Several themes are present across the album, with the overarching subject of love in all its forms. "Fractured and Dazed" reflects on the concept of nostalgia and loss in the form of a dreamy pop-rock song. "Four Leaf Clover" can be seen as an ode to anyone who has ever been bullied and the sense of loneliness it can bring. "Tesco Disco," according to Pritchard, was written as a final goodbye to a dear friend who started down a troubled path without looking back.

    The many messages on the record each pull their own weight before "Pamela" comes in to wash all the troubles away. As the fastest-paced track on the album, Pritchard also claims it's the most British. In a clip on the band's YouTube channel, he says, "I really wanted to put some humor on the record because…that's what I love about British bands. We do it the best." The song is about falling in love with someone who is a bit left of center.

    As The Kooks move forward in their career, they continue to embrace their roots while venturing ahead with new elements. Whether you've been a fan from the beginning or are just getting wind of them yet, Let's Go Sunshine will leave a lasting impression.

    Review by Dan Baker

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