Top Albums of 2014 #3 The Kooks: Listen
The Kooks fourth album Listen surprised me – not because I like it so much which I expected to because I was on board with the first three – but why I did, which I couldn’t have seen coming. The songs that made me a fan of these guys like Always Where I Need To Be and Shine On were hitting me as power pop with inescapable melodies, chiming guitars, and the singing of Luke Pritchard, one of the most appealing voices in rock.
Listen had all those elements but, as Luke explained in two (one for NY1, one for WFUV) interviews, its X-factor is the dance-ability factor brought by new drummer Alexis Nunez who was wearing his ‘Real Men Love Disco’ T-shirt during the band’s show at The Paramount in Huntington. Westside is one of my favorite songs of the year and a great example of the bobbing head/happy feet that a lot of this record creates. There’s also convincing nods to funk and gospel that take us to some new places. The opening track I thought was sure to wink at T-Rex but Luke disabused me of that notion although he got why I thought that as you could draw a parallel to the backing vocals in that to Marc Bolan’s Children of the Revolution. Get a taste of the Paramount show and choice remarks from Luke in the attached Sound Advice video which first aired in October.
If you like what you see there, please continue to the WFUV site for video of the two songs that The Kooks performed live in the studio. That is also where the more expansive interview (audio only) lives. Luke spoke about how the record came together and offered insight into specific tracks like the very personal (and amazing) song See Me Now which is one of the two songs you can watch.