Insurgent Brit-pop band plays it too safe on sophomore release
Though we tend to agree with our cousins across the pond on musical matters, the mystery of exactly why the British see Arctic Monkeys as the second coming of the Fab Four remains unsolved. If this analogy holds, The Kooks would be The Kinks of Brit-pop’s newest invasion, as the lesser-known Brighton quartet wears its wide-eyed energy and pop craftsmanship on its sleeves. But while the band’s second full-length has no shortage of readymade anthems, Konk is a bit too glossy for its own good, with neatly distorted guitars, swooning multi-tracked harmonies and perfectly manicured choruses working against the energy inherent in the performances. Singer/guitarist Luke Pritchard demonstrates a remarkable ear for bouncy and bittersweet melodies, but the teenage melodrama beneath the handclaps and sing-along choruses of “Always Where I Need to Be” and the breezy “Stormy Weather” add up to little more than everyday ear candy.