Let’s Go Sunshine, the Kooks’ fifth studio album, has crashed onto the music scene this week. Full to the brim with a monumental fifteen tracks, this record captures the fifteen-year journey of the British indie heavy weights. This album witnesses the band return to the studio, for traditional ‘back to basics’ band sessions. They’ve distanced themselves from the beat driven pop production that was their 2014 LP Listen, reflecting a more traditional ‘Kooks’ style; the emphasis falls on showcasing the guitar and Luke Pritchard’s poetic lyricism. The influences and styles on the album bounce around throughout the track listing, providing refreshing variety. Often, they’re playful stories penned to music, reminiscent of the lyrical style of their debut.
A strong British sixties character can be felt throughout the record, with Pritchard explaining this album “had to be our Rubber Soul, Lola, Definitely Maybe. Proper British lineage.” This in mind, there’s distinctly Kinks and Beatles sound inspiration weaved throughout this body of work. After ‘Kids,’ a storming and instantly recognisable start, the production takes a softer, more melancholic turn into ‘All the Time’ and ‘Believe.’ These two songs contrast the raw energy of the introduction, which illuminate Pritchard’s endearingly nonchalant style of singing.
‘Honey Bee’ stands with a different kind of sound. The opening riff combines a Kinks style of raw, janky guitar with a touch of George Michael’s ‘Faith.’ The song encompasses lyrics and samples taken from Pritchard’s late father’s own musical exploits, the sugary vocals ever sweetened by the knowledge that this track houses a posthumous duet between father and son – whom the lead vocalist often attributes as his strong musical inspiration too.
‘Pamela’ charges in at the tail end of the album, encompassing the classic relentless indie-pop sound that fans of the Kook’s have grown up on. The punchy guitar, paired with a quirky story in Pritchard’s fervently offbeat vocal techniques, its also rounded off with a Beatles worthy “na na na” sequence. Its 3:04 of pure unadulterated indie joy. The album is tied up neatly with twinkling acoustic love declaration ‘No Pressure,’ complete with swells of backing vocals for a strong feelgood closer. At a hearty 53:06 minutes, Let’s Go Sunshine errs on the lengthy side, guilty of dipping and losing momentum in some areas. Perhaps a slightly more slimline approach to the album may have aided its general cohesivity.
Although, the Kook’s will forever be compared to their debut phenomena, Inside In/Inside Out. Its firmly solidified as indie gold, and reflects a coming of age for many people, but ultimately the strength of nostalgia will often leave older fans dissatisfied. However, this valiant record will hopefully inundate a new generation of indie listeners, asking them to gaze back upon Let’s Go Sunshine with the same fondness.By Kat Ferris