The Kooks – 10 Tracks To Echo In The Dark

A shift in direction for the band...

With a career that spans nearly two decades, it is hardly any wonder that indie trailblazers The Kooks have been on the lookout for new ideas and fresh sources of inspiration, and their sixth studio album marks a different creative route for the Brighton band. 

Some material was written and recorded in Berlin, they worked with local producer and singer songwriter Tobias Kuhn, and they collaborated with German duo Milky Chance and Swedish electronic dance musician Neikid. 

The astounding German capital becomes a symbol of the band’s love of Europe, a way to demonstrate their European affiliation, and why they won’t let Brexit ruin their shared passion. 

Influenced by electro-pop, the use of digital technology plays a key part on ’10 Tracks To Echo In the Dark’, and it lets you hear The Kooks like you have not heard them before. Experimental and playful in places, the record adds new elements to their sound, and the finished result does surprise. 

The Kooks – 10 Tracks To Echo In The Dark

Creatively reflecting how the group’s frontman Luke Pritchard was feeling before and after the worst stages of the pandemic, the songs are also coloured by some of the sci-fi and surreal literature the singer was reading at the time, which he describes as “distracting from what’s going on in the world”. 

The second song on the record, the infectious ‘Cold Heart’, probably is closest to the sound fans will be familiar with, while the breezy, more reflective track ‘Closer’ takes stock of a relationship, it’s an evaluation that leads to renewed appreciation of what’s there. Elsewhere, the upbeat, lightly ska tinged ‘Beautiful World’ offers lots of positivity, and then there is ‘Modern Days’, which is more inward-looking, before the mood changes with the song ‘Oasis’, an upbeat moment that seems as if it’s made for late, happy summer nights with friends, just before the synth-led pop moment that is ‘25’ and ‘Without A Doubt’ close the album. 

There is no doubt about the level of passion and sincerity at play here. Ultimately the two go hand in hand on The Kooks’ latest album project, and the combination is what makes this record different in vibe, signifying a great shift in approach for the band. 

7/10

Words: Susan Hansen

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