The Kooks’ sophomore effort, Konk, is an enjoyable romp through driving guitar riffs and accent-laden vocals that builds on their debut while showing growth and the desire for exploration.
Jangly chords give the album the same bouncy just-here-to-have-a-good-time feel indicative of their debut, Inside In/ Inside Out. Although it’s clear the band has matured since their first time in the studio, tracks that shift from more serious sentiments to the, you’ll forgive me for this, kooky “Mr. Maker” and the brashly sexy “Do You Wanna” make it clear that they’re still exploring their sound.
Although they’ve garnered comparisons to some of the classic and arguably most influential classic rockers, their youth and contemporary sound is more reminiscent of the Strokes and the Libertines than the Beatles or the Kinks.
The influence of their predecessors is clear, in their sound as well as in their penchant for giving the greats a nod of appreciation in a name. The Kooks, who take their moniker from a David Bowie song, recorded their sophomore effort at Ray Davies’ Konk Studios in London, christening the album in its honor.
Guitarist Hugh Harris brings crisp riffs to the table, while lead vocalist and lyricist Luke Pritchard switches between a heavily-accented, toned-down style to reaching for more vocal range. Both make it easy to ignore lyrics that are so repetitive (“Love it All”) they take up just three lines in the liner notes. That recurring theme does help propel “Do You Wanna,” as it flips between “Do you wanna make love to me?” to the reassured “I know you want to make love to me.”
At times, these Brits sound like a jam band messing around in the studio and having a blast with their buddies. “Tick of Time” spends about thirty seconds on a false start before diving into the reggae-inspired tune.
But surely, transferring the rapture and verve of musicians who palpably love what they do isn’t a bad thing. The infectious energy permeates most of the tunes with an unabashed feel-good quality.