Down – The Kooks
As I mentioned in my Glastonbury review – the Kooks are back in full force and they’ve brought with them a neat new sound which has just the jazzy rock influence we needed to hear.
Down is a recent single off the much anticipated new album Listen which will be released on the first of September. It’s a quality track that’s getting a thrashing on my iPod after it was brought t0 life for me during their outrageously awesome set at the English festival.
The bouncy, upbeat tune has a classic indie-rock undertone with an 80s-pop element shining through in the chorus which simply yet effectively repeats the word ‘down’ in a spiralling melody. It starts brilliantly with a piercing rock and roll croon from lead singer Luke Pritchard. Immediately, you’re captivated.
Pritchard’s vocals throughout the song are as compelling as ever, the way he articulates his words is truly unique to other singers and that sound is only reinforced in this new number by the quirky guitar riffs which back it up. The two elements contrast each other wonderfully while still presenting that Kooks sound we all know so well. He’s backed up beautifully by guitarist Hugh Harris who pulls off well-timed echoes and underlying melodies. The distant clap patterns heard between verses is another subtle yet effective touch.
This song, along with the other new offerings on this latest album, has a new spunk. It’s a sound which reminds me of Vampire Weekend. In contrast to the bands older hits like Naiive, She Moves in Her Own Way and Ooh La, this song is gruntier, it has more of a rock base. There’s no denying those past hits were awesome songs, but given the Kooks now have two new members and are a few years down the track, Down showcases the new sound the group so desperately needed to find. Their last album Junk of the Heart fell flat and that’s because it lacked the new energy this song showcases.
It’s obvious the band knows they needed a revamp and they’re loving it. I think you can tell that just listening to Down but I also can say it was clearly obvious in their Glastonbury set. Pritchard has said about the new LP: “To me this album is about pure expression. Even the way we made the album felt fresh. We were really listening to what was going on around us, picking up ideas. The whole thing was much more natural.”
Well Pritchard, as far as I’m concerned, you just hit the nail on the head. This song is fantastic.
Let me know what you think!